Athletes understanding of concussion – uncertainty, certainty and the 'expert' on the street

Matthews, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-8561-2863 and AlHashmi, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-9499-0951, 2021. Athletes understanding of concussion – uncertainty, certainty and the 'expert' on the street. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. ISSN 2159-676X

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Several scholars have examined the uncertainties faced by sport medicine professionals surrounding their diagnosis, treatment and management of concussion. Yet, recent evidence suggests that combat sport athletes seem to have 'reasonably good concussion knowledge'. How, then, have athletes gained such an understanding when medical professionals have not? We argue that this logical inconsistency is most likely an artefact of inflexible, 'snapshot' methodological procedures rather than a nuanced representation of athletes’ actual understanding and experiences of concussion. We address this issue by employing immersive research strategies to provide epistemological space for complexities, contradictions and incoherencies that lie within fighters' understanding of such experiences to come to the fore. In so doing, we demonstrate the interdependence between notions of 'uncertainty' and 'certainty' in fighters’ knowledge about concussion. Further to this, we propose the idea of 'the expert on the street' to explain the ways in which fighters gained lay medical certainty and highlight the potential problems that are imbedded within this process. To conclude, we suggest that inflexible, 'snapshot' methods will often produce overly reductive answers which do little to support the generation of the solutions which are needed to tackle concussion in sport.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Creators: Matthews, C. and AlHashmi, R.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Date: 21 September 2021
ISSN: 2159-676X
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Feb 2022 16:45
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2022 16:45

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