Posted by: B Gourley | January 22, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Medical Care of the Judoka by Anthony Catanese

The Medical Care of the Judoka: A Guide for Athletes, Coaches and Referees to Common Medical Problems in JudoThe Medical Care of the Judoka: A Guide for Athletes, Coaches and Referees to Common Medical Problems in Judo by Anthony J. Catanese

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page


[This was also posted on my website.] I’d recommend this book for anyone who holds a position of responsibility in a dōjō or a combative sport gym, including: teachers, coaches, senior students, trainers, etc. It’s intended for those involved with sport judō, but because there aren’t a lot of sport or martial art-specific books of this nature this may be one of one’s best option to get this information. I haven’t stumbled upon other books like this, but performing a search did result in similar books either generic to martial arts or for other martial arts. However, all of the others that I saw were either old / out-of-date, only available in hardcopy (usually at great expense), or were not by physicians. This book is available on Kindle and is quite inexpensive.

While it’s geared toward sport judō, many of the injuries will be common across martial arts. This is truer of grappling-oriented martial arts, but things like mat infections, students with various chronic ailments, and participants being knocked unconscious. (The latter is covered extensively, but arguably being even more of a concern for strikers.)

The book is useful in two ways. First, it discusses first aid and treatment for common injuries in the martial arts. It’s not a first aid manual, and will not replace training. (In fact, the book assumes it’s talking to someone who’s in a position where they’ve had at least minimal training / experience.) However, it may provide useful information about what injuries one should make sure to be trained in when shopping first aid courses. It also gives one ideas about differences of opinion on certain approaches to treatment or the decision as to whether a given participant is safe to participate.

Second, the book discusses whether prospective students with common chronic ailments can safely participate, and under what circumstance. In many cases, this book goes about this by saying what the judō rulebook says. While this may not be a perfect guide for practitioners of other arts, it may give a reasonable idea about how serious one should take a given disease or infirmity.

The book consists of 20 chapters. Most of the chapters cover common injuries and ailments in judō, generally arranged by anatomical systems. However, there are also chapters covering nutrition/hydration, issues for athletes going abroad / older participants / and special needs athletes, drugs and doping considerations, injury rehabilitation issues, psychological challenges, and the traditional Japanese methods of resuscitation and first aid (kappo and katsu.)

In addition to the core chapters, there is some useful ancillary material. First, there are vignettes interspersed throughout the book that could be beneficial. These vignettes reflect the benefit of having an author who is a medical doctor, a long-time judōka, and an experienced match physician. The vignettes may be more likely to stick in one’s head than the blander presentation of information, and these sidebars often address unusual cases. Also, there are two glossaries—one that deals with martial art / sports terminology, and one for medical terminology.

While written by a physician, this book is not written exclusively for other doctors or medical experts. That is to say, it’s easily readable by a lay audience. Medical jargon, when used, is explained the first time in the text, so one doesn’t need to keep jumping to the glossary.

At least the Kindle version is graphics free. That would be problematic if it was a first aid manual, but that’s not this book’s purpose.

As I said in the beginning, if you have responsibilities for the well-being of martial arts students / athletes, you should read this book.

View all my reviews


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