BOOK REVIEW: The Oxford Textbook of Children’s Sports and Exercise Medicine

By Dr Damien McKay

The Oxford Textbook of Children’s Sports and Exercise Medicine – 3rdEdition, edited by Neil Armstrong and Willem van Mechelen, is a comprehensive reference of value to clinicians and scientists working in youth sport. This fully revised edition incorporating 50 chapters (including 17 new topics and chapters), is authored by internationally recognised scientists and clinicians.

The text is divided into four key sections. The first, Exercise Science focuses upon paediatric and adolescent exercise physiology. This section is a detailed consideration of the influence of growth, maturation, hormones and neuromotor development on exercise.

The second section deals with Exercise Medicine, and gives an depth analysis of physical activity and its role in the physical and psychosocial development of children, and subsequent influence throughout the lifespan. Half of the chapters in this section are allocated to exercise and physical activity recommendations for children with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and physical or intellectual disabilities. In doing so this section provides a valued resource for clinicians and trainers working with children with chronic illness.

The third section Sports Science, is strengthened by incorporating the depth of evidence accumulated in this field since the textbooks last edition. The inclusion of an evidence based discussion of the risks and benefits of sometimes controversial issues such as athlete development programs and resistance training in young athletes, adds value to this section.

The final section addresses aspects of Sports Medicine broadly covering regional injury and aspects of the medical management of young athletes. While the chapters on regional injuries are less accessible for the clinician on a day to day basis in this format, the editors should be commended for the inclusion of important medical issues such as supplement use, anti-doping and protecting the child athlete.

The editors have achieved their objective of presenting a text that delivers detailed and complex scientific and medical material. This is not so much a text to refer to in day to day use, but is rather an exhaustive reference covering all aspects of youth sports and exercise medicine. Its strength in particular lies in it extraordinary coverage of basic science and physiology in the sections on Exercise Scienceand Sports Science.The depth of information in these sections alone makes this publication a mandatory reference text to have on the bookshelf (or in one’s hard drive) for clinicians and in particular for exercise scientists involved in youth sport.


Dr Damien McKay MBBS, BAppSc (Physiotherapy), MSpMed, Dip Paed, FRACP is a Staff Specialist in Paediatric and Adolescent Sports and Exercise Medicine at the Children’s Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine, in Sydney, Australia and Head Doctor for the QBE Sydney Swans Academy and the Cronulla Sharks Junior Development Program.

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