Book Review 

The Athletic Trainer’s Guide to Psychosocial Intervention and Referral

Bonnie L. Van Lunen, PhD, ATC; Dorice Hankemeier, MSEd, ATC

  • Athletic Training and Sports Health Care
  • September/October 2009 - Volume 1 · Issue 5: 239-240
  • DOI: 10.3928/19425864-20090826-01

The Athletic Trainer’s Guide to Psychosocial Intervention and Referral by Dr James Mensch and Dr Gary Miller is a comprehensive text that includes a competency-based approach to the psychosocial aspect of patient health care. The collaboration of the authors is evident as they provide the unique perspectives of both an athletic trainer and a counselor. This text would be beneficial for athletic training educators as they prepare to teach students the psychological components of providing care or for young professionals with limited exposure to these concepts.

The text is organized into 11 chapters, a glossary, and a section of Internet resources referenced in the text. Each chapter begins by outlining the Fourth Edition of the NATA Educational Competencies covered in the chapter. The information contained in each chapter is then related back to the educational competencies. Chapter exercises conclude each chapter and readers are given several specific tasks geared toward applying the information covered in the text. Many of the exercises are scenario based and challenge readers to apply the scenario to the setting in which they practice. The text is void of any color pictures and thus may not be visually appealing to students. Because some figures have been reprinted from other publications, they are difficult to read due to the clarity of printing.

A wide variety of information is covered in this book, which goes beyond the typical psychological response to injury presented in many other texts. The first chapter, Athletic Training and Psychological Issues, discusses the role of athletic trainers and how this role has evolved in developing psychological competencies. Chapter 2, Helping Approaches, Skills, and Applications, provides an introduction to skills used when communicating with patients. Information in this chapter is based on different approach theories and scholarly research. Chapter 3, Systematic Referrals: Issues and Processes Related to Psychosocial Referrals for Athletic Trainers, addresses the necessary steps to make a proper referral. The chapter also outlines various professionals an athletic trainer may use for referral. Substance abuse intervention strategies and warning signs are listed in chapter 4, Substance Abuse Issues For Athletic Trainers. Chapter 5, Disordered Eating, provides an overview of the various clinical eating disorders and prevention strategies for athletic trainers. The psychological response to injury is discussed in chapter 6, Psychological Response To Injury And Interventions. Response models are discussed along with psychomotor intervention strategies such as goal setting, imagery, and stress management. Chapter 7, Mental Health Issues, addresses the benefits and risks to athletic involvement, along with an overview of some of the more common mood disorders. Chapter 8, Catastrophic Injuries And The Athletic Trainer, discusses the need for an action plan for an athletic trainer when coping with potential catastrophic events. The chapter also covers potential responses to trauma and common diagnoses given after catastrophic events. Chapter 9, Nutrition and Supplements, focuses on the use of anabolic steroids in the athletic population. The chapter also addresses other ergogenic aids and nutritional supplements common in athletes and athletic trainers’ role in counseling athletes in the use of these substances. Chapter 10, Psychological Aspects of Child and Adolescent Sports, provides an overview of youth sports in the United States and problems faced by these young athletes. The final chapter, Psychosocial Issues And Trends For The Athletic Trainer, examines trends and psychological issues that athletic trainers are faced with today. The chapter also helps to define the different dimensions of an athlete and how athletic trainers can help to understand the whole person and not just the athlete.

In summary, this text is full of scholarly referenced theories and models that can be useful to athletic trainers. Students may get lost in the long reference lists and numerous psychological theories, but the practical application of the content is a positive feature. Athletic training educators could use this text to supplement information in a variety of classes within the athletic training curriculum due to the wide array of topics covered in the text.

Dorice Hankemeier, MSEd, ATC
Old Dominion University



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