The Distinguished Lecture Series in Sports Medicine at Hope College will focus on ways to reduce the risk and severity of athletic injuries on Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center.

Dr. David Janda of the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine in Ann Arbor will present "The Politics of Prevention: Breaking Down the Barriers."

Janda will describe methods that those involved in athletics can use to reduce the risk and severity of injuries. As a physician, he is concerned with the ongoing emphasis in health care on reacting rather than taking steps to prevent problems before they occur.

"The politics of prevention and the barriers to preventative efforts - whether in sports medicine, heart disease, or cancer - are similar," he has noted. "The single greatest barrier to preventative efforts is that our education teaches us to be reactive rather than proactive. Thinking in a preventative mindset requires a different set of observational and implementation skills. Prevention requires both caring and action."

"Preventative measures often 'die on the vine' because there are no financial incentives for them to grow and take shape," he has said. "Preventive interventions often are not supported by insurance companies, HMOs, government officials, and the sports equipment industry."

The lack of emphasis on prevention, he believes, comes with a cost. According to Janda, some 12 million student-athletes between the ages of five and 22 will sustain a sport or recreational injury this year alone, missing a total of 20 million days of school. He feels that most of the injuries are preventable.

Janda is an orthopaedic surgeon in Ann Arbor and director of the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine. A graduate of the Northwestern University School of Medicine, he has served on six state and federal panels concerned with injury prevention. He has published extensively on the topic of injury prevention, including his most recent book, "The Awakening of a Surgeon."

The Distinguished Lecture Series in Sports Medicine is designed for health care professionals with an interest in physically active patients, and is intended for students, educators and clinicians alike. It is co-sponsored by Holland Community Hospital, GRSportsCenter and the college.