Medical Uncertainty and Clinician–Athlete Relations: The Management of Concussion Injuries in Rugby Union

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This article addresses clinical practice in sport medicine. Combining notions of medical uncertainty with a figurational sociological emphasis on interdependence, the article illustrates how uncertainty characterizes the medical understanding, clinical treatment, and patient experience of concussion. Faced with uncertainty, the clinician’s desire for recognition and validation through athletes’ dependence on them enables medically based diagnostic and treatment guidelines to be replaced by the understanding and definition of concussion dominant in the sport subculture. Clinicians further invoke strategies that protect their professional status and therefore secure their interdependence with others in the sport club figuration. The study advances our understanding by illuminating the basis on which clinicians and athletes negotiate treatment and the impact of these experiences on clinicians’ actions and beliefs.

The author is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom.

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