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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eric B. Larson, PhD (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This is a primer on assessment and treatment of athletes with head injury. It is a collection of literature reviews, descriptions of model programs, and recommendations for clinical practice.
Purpose: The stated intent is to provide an introduction to the field by surveying current practice and explaining the science behind it. A comprehensive reference work in the area would play a needed role in the development of evidence-based practice. While much of the book realizes this aspiration, it is uneven and, as a whole, falls short of its objective.
Audience: The editor states that clinical psychologists are the target audience for this book. In actuality, psychology students, interns, and postdoctoral fellows may seek out information on this topic at least as often as experienced clinicians. For the most part, the authors are reputable researchers although some appear to be businessmen whose academic credentials are not as well established.
Features: Fairly thorough reviews present essential background information. A substantial compendium of assessment techniques are outlined, ranging from simple five-minute mental status exams read from a card to sophisticated test batteries administered by a computer. The authors anticipate objections and lay out arguments to support their responses to controversies in assessment, but ultimately some are not convincing. Several unfortunate typographic errors also detract from the credibility of the articles. Neuropsychologists may find it disconcerting that the authors are equipping coaches, trainers, and team physicians with psychometric instruments and endorsing their efforts to perform standardized assessment in the absence of formal training. Some authors succeed in describing the role that qualified specialists can play in consultation with athletic staff who administer such measures. Others fail to explain that test data are not self-interpreting and that they contribute to informed diagnosis and treatment only when properly understood.
Assessment: Readers of this book will receive a satisfactory introduction to the field of sports neuropsychology. However, they may discover this introduction raises as many questions as it answers.