Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Student Athletes’ Perceptions of Concussions through Media Consumption


Scott J. Weiland and Michelle Schmude

Recently, concussions have become a popular topic among media outlets. Because of the long-term health effects associated with traumatic brain injuries as studied in football players such as Alzheimer’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, this health crisis coverage is on the rise. On August 31, 2012, the National Football League (NFL) and the United States Army announced a partnership to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries, specifically concussions in athletes and those serving in the armed forces. This partnership between the NFL and the Army received enormous media attention and was profiled on most major media outlets. Information concerning concussions is readily available to the public through various media outlets and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Heads Up” campaign. Based on this readily available data, do college athletes actively engage and utilize information to become more knowledgeable about concussions and the impact upon their future health? To determine an answer, a 10-question, IRB-approved survey was sent via email to athletes who played football, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, and field hockey at three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) colleges and universities. Female athletes completed the survey at 52.6% while males completed the survey at 47.4%. The age range of survey respondents was 18 to 22 and the data they provided were descriptively and inferentially analyzed. This study determined there is a relationship between college athletes sustaining concussions and their concussion management though the consumption of the media portrayals of these traumatic brain injuries. In addition, respondents used new media vehicles 69% as compared to traditional media vehicles at 31% to investigate the long term health effects of concussions.


Share this article

arrow_upward arrow_upward