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December 25, 1996

Why Michael Couldn't Hit and Other Tales of the Neurology of Sports

Author Affiliations

Pensacola, Fla

JAMA. 1996;276(24):1991. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540240069036

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Harold Klawans keeps being more fun to read. His last book, Life, Death, and In Between, was an engaging and personal account of the lessons and humanity of neurological practice, but Why Michael Couldn't Hit is better written and more fun. Sports stories, especially about wellknown characters—let's face it, icons— like Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Lou Gehrig, and Wilma Rudolph—are always appealing. Sports and athletes appeal to almost everybody. Inside stories, with curious tidbits that explain an athlete's competitive edge or unique vulnerabilities, are hard to resist. Klawans brings us a basketful, and they do not disappoint. A number of the famous athletes he discusses are less well known now, like Primo Carnera and a football player and patient Klawans calls "First Half Jameson" to maintain his privacy, but the cases are still alive and interesting.

For instance, a basketball player was able to overcome some problems of Tourette syndrome