Soccer, CTE, and the Cultural Representation of Dementia

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Loughborough University
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This article deploys a qualitative media content analysis to examine discourses linking sport, head injury, and longer term neurocognitive decline. It draws on a seminal British television documentary and associated print media coverage to demonstrate that the representation of sport-related brain injury is intricately connected to both conceptions of risk in sport and a wider social response to aging and dementia. The article augments existing North American analyses to provide the first cross-cultural comparison of this phenomenon and, in doing so, illustrates how the social prominence of cultural representations of sport-related brain injury relates in part to the distinct characteristics of the sport-related phenomenon, which extend and amplify both the broader cultural crisis of concussion in sport and existing representations of dementia. The study is therefore important because it provides a unique perspective on both a key contemporary sporting issue and this global health concern.

Malcolm (d.e.malcolm@lboro.ac.uk) is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

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