Date of Award

2-6-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Public Health (M.P.H.)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Jody Vogelzang

Second Advisor

Theresa Baguley

Third Advisor

Stephen Bloom

Fourth Advisor

Emily Kroschus

Abstract

This study examined four distinct areas of sports concussion as they are presented in the media; definitions/descriptions of concussion, informants for direct quotes about concussions, signs and symptoms, and duration of time missed from sport including removal from play. The study examined print media articles published in 2005 (n=64) and 2015 (n=136). Additionally, journal articles aligning with the research components were analyzed to provide a review of the scope of knowledge during each of the collection periods. Overall, the discussion of sports concussion in the media broadened between 2005 and 2015. There was more variety in the descriptions used, types of informants directly quoted, and signs and symptoms reported in the 2015 findings. Articles that reported less than three weeks of time missed from sports (prospective or retrospective) represented 31% (9/29) of the reports from 2005, and 62.07% (36/58) of the reports from 2015. The hypothesis that “signs would be reported more often than symptoms” was not supported by the findings from either collection period. The hypothesis that “the media would more frequently report extended periods of time missed from sport due to concussion and athletic careers ended because of concussion complications” was partially supported in the 2005 findings, but was not supported by the data from 2015.

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