Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Antonowicz

Advisor Role

Thesis Co-Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Dowler

Advisor Role

Thesis Co-Supervisor

Abstract

American (gridiron) football played at the professional level in the National Football League (NFL) is an inherently physical spectator sport, in which players frequently engage in significant contact to the head and upper body. Until recently, the long-term health consequences associated with on the field head trauma were not fully disclosed to players or the public, potentially misrepresenting the dangers involved in gameplay. Crucial to the dissemination of this information to the public are in-game televised commentators of NFL games, regarded as the primary conduits for mediating in-game narratives to the viewing audience. Using a social constructionist theoretical lens, this study aimed at identifying how Game Commentators represented in-game head trauma and concussions during NFL games for viewer consumption, through a content analysis of 102 randomly sampled regular season games, over the course of six seasons (2009-2014). Specifically, this research questioned the frequency and prevalence of significant contact, commentator representations of significant player contact, commentator representations of the players involved in significant contact and commentator communication of the severity of health hazards and consequences associated with significant contact. Observed during the content analysis were 226 individual incidents of significant contact. Findings indicate that commentator representations of significant contact did not appropriately convey the potential health consequences associated with head trauma and concussions to the viewing audience. Instead, incidents of significant contact were constructed by commentators as glorified instances of violence, physicality and masculinity- largely devoid and diffusive of the severity of health consequences associated with head injuries and concussions.

Convocation Year

2016

Convocation Season

Spring