A Critical Investigation of Mediated Representations of Sport-Related Pain and Injury


  • Jordan Zacher University of Calgary
  • Dr. William Bridel University of Calgary




Academic literature has consistently demonstrated that athletes are socialized to accept a culture of risk, which is thought to be inherent within sport. In accepting this culture of risk, sport-related pain and injuries are normalized. This normalization is reinforced by the media through the glorification of (primarily) male athletes who play through their pain in (largely) contact sports. The purpose of this study was to investigate how CBC Sports Weekend constructed sport-related pain and injury across a variety of sports. Twenty broadcasts that aired from August – December 2019 were selected and subjected to thematic analysis. The results indicated a paradoxical representation of sport-related pain and injury. CBC Sports Weekend reinforced a culture of risk and rewarded athletes for taking (successful) risks and toughing it out through injuries, across a wide range of sports. At the same time, broadcasters showed concern for athletes’ health and well-being following a fall, crash or injury. Importantly, these paradoxical narratives demonstrated an improvement in how sport-related pain and injury is portrayed, augmenting more recent academic literature that suggests sport-related pain and injury media narratives are shifting towards prioritizing health.






Social Sciences & Humanities