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L Petersen, P Renström. London: Martin Dunitz, £29.95 (price with CD ROM £49.95), pp 554; ISBN 1-85317-119-0.
To review this book is no easy task. It is a bit like being asked to do a book review of The Bible. It seems like this reference book has been on our shelves since Moses played half back for Egypt, and few sports physicians world wide will not have read it at some stage of their career. Many of us have used the extensive pictures from earlier editions of the book to illustrate our lectures. The authors and publishers are to be commended that one can also now purchase these illustrations on a separate CD ROM. Bowing to the inevitable consumer demands, nevertheless this makes an important “value added” aspect to the book.
The fact that this book is now in a 3rd edition says something important about the development of sports medicine. We have reached the stage where important textbooks such as this one have been developing over almost 30 years, paralleling the growth and increasing sophistication of the discipline of sports medicine.
Like The Bible, Sports injuries is a multiauthored book, strong on orthopaedic trauma and weak on return to play issues. As one would expect from a text authored by two internationally renowned surgeons, the orthopaedic aspects of injuries are particularly strong. New sections in this 3rd edition enhance the book significantly. This is particularly impressive in the shoulder trauma section, where I see that Ben Kibler's slide test is elevated to sainthood. As I revisited this book for the purpose of this review, I am struck just how much orthopaedic sports medicine has changed since I began in this area. Concepts such as SLAP lesions, autologous chondrocyte transplantation, and labral tears were not even described when I did my first sports medicine course, yet in this book, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, such concepts are made crystal clear. All budding sports clinicians, regardless of discipline, should read this textbook as a starting point for their careers in sports medicine.
This book is meant to be about sports injuries, and, not surprisingly, its weakest aspect is the medical coverage of sporting problems. There is virtually nothing on cardiorespiratory or neurological problems or physiological adaptations in sport. As I mentioned, the book is designed to cover sports injuries, and it would need a multivolume text to do justice to every aspect of sports medicine. One area that overlaps sports medicine and sports trauma, however, is the issue of head injury and concussion. It is here that this book is particularly lacking. This section is both outdated in approach and incorrect in its terminology and provides no useful guidance on return to play. Perhaps in the 4th edition this will be rectified! Despite this quibble, Sports injuries justifiably deserves its place in the pantheon of sports medicine textbooks.
The overview of general concepts makes this work the best single reference for new sports medicine trainees and those involved in athletic care. Similarly the sections on rehabilitation and training are very useful and many of the suggested exercises can easily be adapted for patient handouts or information.
Reviewing this book is a bit like meeting an old and dear friend that one hasn't seen for some time. The easy familiarity is still there, the style of the illustrations remains distinctive, and yet the book is far more evolved and sophisticated. What was an excellent book in its earlier existence is now even more impressive in its scope and coverage of sports medicine. This book gets my vote for sports medicine book of the year. A “gold medal” performance!
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