A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the Normalization of Sport Injuries

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Timothy J. CurryThe Ohio State University

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Richard H. StraussThe Ohio State University

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This visual study explores the social conditions that promote the normalization of injuries in sport. Photographs taken at a university wrestling team’s meets and practices, and in a hospital operating room, convey some of the details and social ambience of today’s approach to collegiate sports medicine. Quotations drawn from photo-elicitation interviews with the coaches and athletes express the views of the participants. This study suggests that the normalization of injuries in sport—illustrated when universities make medical care immediately available and coaches and athletes minimize the significance of injury—encourages continued participation. Such continuation may be questioned by those concerned with the long-term effects of “playing with pain.”

Timothy J. Curry is with the Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, 300 Bricker Hall, 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1353. Richard H. Strauss is with the Departments of Preventative Medicine and Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University.

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