Body Talk: Male Athletes Reflect on Sport, Injury, and Pain

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Kevin Young University of Calgary

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Philip White McMaster University

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William McTeer Wilfrid Laurier University

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This paper examines how participation in physically demanding sport, with its potential and actual injurious outcomes, both challenges and reinforces dominant notions of masculinity. Data from 16 in-depth interviews with former and current Canadian adult male athletes indicate that sport practices privileging forceful notions of masculinity are highly valued, and that serious injury is framed as a masculinizing experience. It is argued that a generally unreflexive approach to past disablement is an extraordinary domain feature of contemporary sport. The risks associated with violent sport appear to go relatively unquestioned by men who have suffered debilitating injury and whose daily lives are marked by physical constraints and pain.

Kevin Young is with the Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4. Philip White is with the Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1. William McTeer is with the Department of Physical Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Ave. W, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3C5.

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