Medical care in combat sports: team-doctoring and the case study of concussion

AlHashmi, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-9499-0951, 2023. Medical care in combat sports: team-doctoring and the case study of concussion. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

Reem AlHashmi_2023.pdf - Published version

Download (1MB) | Preview


The purpose of this thesis is to explore how combat sport athletes think about, understand and manage their experiences of pain, injury and medical care. While some research provides interesting accounts from the perspective of ringside medical staff, there is no work which considers these experiences from the perspective of fighters. Considering that 'fight medics' are often outsourced and usually only present during competitions, the lack of dedicated medical support outside these settings may result in fighters being more likely to engage in 'team-doctoring' – a term used to describe athletes seeking medical advice from teammates and coaches. This process is yet to be theorised and empirically described. This thesis, therefore, aims to explore team-doctoring by considering sociocultural interactions, norms embedded within combat sport subcultures and the role each plays in shaping fighters' experiences. This analysis is further advanced by examining combat sport athletes’ understanding of concussion which appears to be an interesting case study from which to explore some of the potential limitations of team-doctoring.

The data for this project was collected through field observations at combat sport gyms and fight events and semi-structured interviews with fighters from a variety of combat sport disciplines. In so doing, this study defines team-doctoring as a process whereby apparent medical knowledge is (mis)understood, recommended, transferred, interpreted, embodied and developed within a somewhat coherent team. Further investigations highlighted clear limitations within this process, which influenced how fighters understood and managed their experiences of (ill)health. This not only revealed several misconceptions that normalised and reaffirmed risky body practices within their sport but was also the basis from which fighters rejected seeking advice and treatment from qualified medical professionals. Contextualising team-doctoring offers continuing insights into the complexities that lie within athletes’ understandings, which, when further developed, can serve as useful components of future recommendations for policy and practice.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: AlHashmi, R.
Date: June 2023
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 12 Sep 2023 10:22
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2023 10:22

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year