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Journal Article

Citation

Cusimano MD, Sharma B, Lawrence DW, Ilie G, Silverberg S, Jones R. PLoS One 2013; 8(4): e61865.

Affiliation

Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Injury Prevention Research Office, Keenan Research Center, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0061865

PMID

23613957

Abstract

The frequency and potential long-term effects of sport-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) make it a major public health concern. The culture within contact sports, such as ice hockey, encourages aggression that puts youth at risk of TBI such as concussion. Newspaper reports play an important role in conveying and shaping the culture around health-related behaviors. We qualitatively studied reports about sport-related TBI in four major North American newspapers over the last quarter-century. We used the grounded-theory approach to identify major themes and then did a content analysis to compare the frequency of key themes between 1998-2000 and 2009-2011. The major themes were: perceptions of brain injury, aggression, equipment, rules and regulations, and youth hockey. Across the full study period, newspaper articles from Canada and America portrayed violence and aggression that leads to TBI both as integral to hockey and as an unavoidable risk associated with playing the game. They also condemned violence in ice hockey, criticized the administrative response to TBI, and recognized the significance of TBI. In Canada, aggression was reported more often recently and there was a distinctive shift in portraying protective equipment as a solution to TBI in earlier years to a potential contributing factor to TBI later in the study period. American newspapers gave a greater attention to 'perception of risks' and the role of protective equipment, and discussed TBI in a broader context in the recent time period. Newspapers from both countries showed similar recent trends in regards to a need for rule changes to curb youth sport-related TBI. This study provides a rich description of the reporting around TBI in contact sport. Understanding this reporting is important for evaluating whether the dangers of sport-related TBI are being appropriately communicated by the media.


Language: en

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