Any Given Monday

Author: Dr. James R. Andrews, MD with Don Yaeger
Publisher: Scribner Publishing
Book Publication: 2013

According to Stats Canada, over 40% of child and youth injuries treated in emergency departments are sport and recreation related. In fact, it has been determined that unintentional injuries like those suffered while playing sports pose the greatest threat to the health of children and youth in Canada.

As disturbing as this is, it should be noted that most sports-related injuries are both predictable and preventable. Dr. James R. Andrews, widely known as one of the most influential individuals in sports medicine today, has written a new book, Any Given Monday, to give parents, grandparents, coaches, trainers, and medical personnel some guidance in taking the steps necessary to “help curb the growing epidemic that is endangering our most athletically talented children, adolescents, and young adults.”

In the opening chapters, Andrews includes some of sports medicine’s fascinating history, citing its beginnings in fifth-century-BC Thrace, with Herodicus as the first team doctor and father of sports medicine. Andrews brings the reader up to the present explaining how sports medicine works best today when it is comprised of a team of professionals, and goes on to define the roles and responsibilities of these “sports medicine team members.”

While orthopedic surgery is what made Andrews world-renowned, he is determined to promote ways to prevent young athletes from injuries that require them to see surgeons like him in the first place.

Part Two, “A Handbook of Youth Sports Injuries” acts as a stand-alone sports manual, providing a reference guide to the most popular youth sports, outlining health concerns most common to each sport, how best to treat them, and most important how to prevent them from happening. The overuse injuries arising from excessive pitch counts in baseball, the numerous brain injuries attributed to football, eating disorders among dance participants, and the catastrophic injuries that have occurred in cheerleading are some of the issues addressed. Other sports such as gymnastics, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, golf, and even water polo are also given attention.

In addition to the type and number of common sports injuries, this section contains invaluable tips to help avert them. Andrews points the reader to some of the more obvious injury prevention strategies such as: qualified and certified coaches, adequate supervision, well-maintained and properly fitted equipment (helmets, facemasks, kneepads, mats, etc.), but also to the less tangible, such as ones that contribute to overuse injuries and burnout. For example, he suggests allowing young athletes to take time off from their chosen sport (as much as three consecutive months each year), the avoidance of overly competitive coaches (he cites gymnastics as a major culprit here), and to be wary of the sometimes excessive ‘professionalism’ of elite academies or clubs as seen in figure skating.

The last section of Any Given Monday offers Andrews’ prescription for change in youth athletics. Some highlights include: debunking myths like ‘no pain, no gain,’ and surgeries will improve an athlete’s performance; stressing the importance of awareness of the causes and warning signs for concussions; the implementation of an Emergency Action Plan for every youth sports team, and finally the necessity of dynamic warm-up and dynamic flexibility programs for all sports.

It is important that we encourage young people to maintain an active lifestyle and in order for them to do so safely, we must increase our awareness of the risk of injuries in sports and recreation and ways to prevent them. Thoughtful, engaging, and informative, Any Given Monday does just that.


Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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