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ACSM’s Essentials of Sports Medicine. Edited by R E Sallis and F Massimino. (Pp 646; £50.00.) St Louis: Mosby, 1997. ISBN0-8151-0157-0.
To many, sports medicine is the treatment of injury in our Olympic and World Champions. Whereas in the United Kingdom this specialty is only starting to emerge in its own right, in other parts of the world, none more so than in the USA, it has been well established for over 25 years and encompasses much more than the care of elite athletes. It recognises the importance of physical activity for health, the benefits of exercise in the prevention and treatment of disease, and the management and rehabilitation of athletes of all abilities. The physician practising sports medicine firstly requires a broad medical base and specific musculoskeletal skills. In the UK, there are clearly overlaps with certain traditional specialties and the interested rheumatologist is well placed in these respects.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is now a huge, multidisciplinary organisation of doctors, physiotherapists, scientists, coaches, and other professionals with an interest in these areas. With contributions by 72 leading authors in the field of sport and exercise medicine, Essentials of Sports Medicinedemonstrates its combined breadth, expertise, and experience. This new book has been developed from the syllabus of the ACSM’s review courses leading to the American Certificate of Added Qualification examinations. The CAQ in sports medicine is part of the requirement acknowledging competence in sports medicine for doctors in other primary care disciplines rather than ‘career’ sports physicians, and is broadly equivalent to the UK’s Diploma in Sports Medicine.
The book is divided into two sections covering medical and musculoskeletal topics, and consists of 82 chapters presented in note form. Each chapter is structured and by nature of the format, contains large amounts of information. Being typically 5–10 pages long, however, the chapters remain easily digestible. The relative brevity would suggest that it will be better appreciated by those with some previous understanding or experience of the topics. They do offer a balanced synopsis of the verifed facts and, perhaps more importantly, recognise where the scientific evidence is limited. The medical section covers areas such as cardiology, infectious disease, drugs and the particular concerns of the young, the elderly, and female athletes. The musculoskeletal section reviews each anatomical region systematically and emphasises physical rehabilitation and the difficult practical aspects of return to sport. Also discussed are the biomechanics, the factors predisposing to and the prevention of injury, along with certain sport specific problems. There are very few illustrations in the medical section. The musculoskeletal section is better served in this respect and when they do occur, are predominantly black and white line diagrams. As with most multi-author texts there is some minor repetition, but as one would typically look at selected topics, this would not seem to be a problem. Each chapter is supported by key references and further reading suggestions.
Essentials of Sports Medicine clearly is not an in depth review of the specialty, but it is not aimed to be. What it is, is a valuable reference source and revision guide. It is comprehensive in its overview and presents information in a readily accessible format. I feel they have achieved their goals of a systematic review with a common sense approach and it will, indeed, be of great use to those preparing for postgraduate examinations in sport and exercise medicine. It may also be used along with its companion text, ACSM’s Sports Medicine Review, which contains sample questions and model answers with cross references to information contained inEssentials.
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