When I was offered a review copy of this book by Jonathan Gelber, M.D., I was skeptical; I’ve seen popular books on sports medicine done very badly in the past. I was keen to see how Gelber had approached it, though, so I agreed to take a look.
The book covers a wide range of topics, ranging from concussion and head injury, joint problems, skin infections, cuts and lacerations, and training advice for prolonging a fighter’s career. It’s aimed at those without a medical background and includes numerous quotes from fighters, stories and examples of scenarios drawn from MMA history that show that the author has certainly done his homework. Gelber’s experience within MMA is evident, and the advice he gives mostly consists of sensible best practice guidelines for numerous different issues, along with some rehabilitation and injury prevention exercises.
No book is a substitute for individual medical advice from a professional, of course; and while there’s plenty of useful information, it’s important not to apply it without a proper diagnosis, and to be aware that in places it only scratches the surface in many places (the sections on weight cutting and PEDs, for example, explain some of the dangers, but are a little thin on practical advice that a fighter can implement). This is inevitable in a book of this nature that’s aimed at the non-specialist reader, though. If you already know a fair bit about sports medicine you’ll find it a little basic, but the stories and anecdotes add plenty of interesting context that make it a worthwhile read.
On balance, I liked it. This is an excellent book for fighters and especially coaches looking to educate themselves about the medical aspects of MMA. It’s succinct, easily readable and gives a good starting point for a reader who wants to look further into any of these topics.