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Sports medicine for specific ages and abilities.
  1. Peter Brukner, Associate Professor of Sports Medicine
  1. Centre for Sports Medicine Research and Education, University of Melbourne, Australia p.brukner{at}

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    Eds Nicola Maffulli, Kai Ming Chan, Rose Macdonald, Robert M Malina, Anthony W Parker. (Pp 471; £49.95.) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2001. ISBN 0-443-06128-9.

    I was excited when I saw this book as the five authors are all well known to me as prominent in their respective fields. Nicola Maffulli of Stoke on Trent via Aberdeen and Hong Kong is an orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in children's injuries, Kai Ming Chan from Hong Kong is a widely published orthopaedic surgeon, Rose McDonald has been prominent in sports physiotherapy in the United Kingdom for many years, Bob Malina from Michigan State University is one of the foremost experts in children's growth, and Tony Parker has been a leading FIMS official for many years.

    Their stated aim is “to address in one volume the specific problems of different categories of individuals in sport”. The four groups considered were the young, the old, the female athlete, and the disabled athlete—all important subgroups with specific problems of their own. These four groups usually get a chapter each in general sports medicine books, so one would hope that these areas would be considered in significantly more detail in this publication.

    The children's section covers all the important issues such as growth and maturation, strength and endurance training, nutrition, and competitive stress. The sections on injuries have some inaccuracies—for example, in the section on navicular stress fractures describing the pain as “well localised to the apex of the foot” and prescribing rest only in the treatment, and the use of a rigid Boston brace in all cases of spondylolysis—but they are generally well covered.

    The female section also covers all the major issues but is quite repetitive, with three different chapters all covering menstrual irregularities. The section on aging and master athletes (surely that should be masters athletes) includes such topics as bone metabolism, strength training and balance, as well as exercise and surgical management of osteoarthritis. The final section, physical activity in disability, takes a broad definition of disability and covers topics such as exercise in cardiac rehab, low back pain, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, in addition to the more traditional disabled athlete topics.

    As well as the five editors, there are 64 other chapter authors or coauthors. As a result there is some inconsistency and repetition.

    I had two other concerns about the editing of the book. The first is that there seem to be some chapters placed in the wrong sections—for example, a chapter on “anabolic steroid use in adolescents” is in the disability section instead of the section on children and adolescent athletes, and “exercise prescription for amputees” is in the aging and master athlete section rather than the disabled section. This smacks of careless editing. The other gripe is that there are a number of chapters that do not seem to bear any relation to any of the four areas. They include a chapter by Jenny McConnell on “faulty alignment and posture”, and one on “biomechanical problems of the lower limb—the key to overuse injury” by Australian podiatrist Simon Bartold. These two chapters are actually the best chapters in the book but seem to be thrown in for good measure rather than because of relevance to the topic.

    All in all, this book covers important areas but suffers from too much repetition and poor editing. I am not sure that it covers the topics much better than some of the good sports medicine texts.