April 18, 2013

News Focus On Aggression In Ice Hockey Shifted From Violence To Safety Rules, Equipment

Popular media perspectives on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in sports like ice hockey has changed over time and may influence people's attitudes towards these injuries, according to research published April 17 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Michael Cusimano and colleagues from St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

The authors compared articles published in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun from 1998-2000 and 2009-2011. They found the Canadian newspapers discussed aggression in ice hockey equally during both these time periods, but mention of the regulations governing violence in the sport increased in the 2009-2011 time frame. In comparison, American newspapers discussed aggression less frequently in both periods and focused more on perception of risks from TBI in ice hockey. Coverage of safety equipment and rules in the American newspapers was approximately the same during both the times.

Citing research that shows media reporting can shape health-related attitudes and behaviors, the authors state that these changes in media coverage of TBI in ice hockey may also contribute to the cultural trends prevalent in the sport.


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