Hard knock life: negotiating concussion and dementia in sport


  • Dr Gregory Hollin

    University of Leeds

Project summary

The past ten years have seen increasing anxiety about the risks associated with concussion suffered during sporting activities. These fears are related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of dementia caused by blows to the head. Given the number of sports that carry a risk of CTE, there are increasing concerns about a silent epidemic of dementias which has led to calls for technological innovation, changes to rules in sport, and legislation to help prevent the disease.

This project involves fieldwork in three sporting contexts – American football, professional wrestling and age grade rugby. I will consider how people who play these sports understand themselves, their brains and their conduct given the possibility of brain injury and how knowledge of the brain, dementia, class, race, and gender shapes their approach. 

Findings from the project will contribute to our understanding of CTE as an emerging diagnosis and how it affects athletes and sporting practice.