“They Just See Guys as Bodies”: Assessing Credibility of Injury Communication in the National Football League

in International Journal of Sport Communication

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David CassiloSchool of Communication & Media, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA

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Joseph McGlynnDepartment of Communication Studies, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

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This study examined interviews with former National Football League (NFL) players to better understand the role that source credibility plays in concussion and injury communication. The NFL has a complex history with concussions and other injuries, yet has made some recent attempts to improve player safety. Researchers interviewed 10 former NFL players about concussion and injury communication that is league-based, team-based, and teammate-based. The researchers performed a thematic analysis of those interview transcripts with a focus on source credibility and injury communication, finding that while the NFL has attempted to make the game safer, players still struggle to trust the league, which impacts their willingness to accept health information. These findings indicate that NFL players may never find the league truly credible or neutral toward injuries. Further, injury education programs that include greater involvement from teammates may be successful strategies to increasing awareness within the locker room, as players indicated that fellow players can be viewed as more trustworthy sources of information.

McGlynn https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8869-0629

Cassilo (dcassilo@gmail.com) is corresponding author.

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