Kaitlyn Graham

Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Volkman, Julie E.

Second Faculty Advisor

McDonnell, Judith


Concussion; Media Analysis; Terminology; CTE


Bryant University

Rights Management

All rights retained by Bryant University and Kaitlyn Graham


This project explores the way concussions are communicated to us through the use of documentary film. By examining the use of concussion related terms, as well as the tone and general word choice, it can be seen that there are certain words and phrases that are commonly left out, and others that are used too much. The differences in the usage of these words and tones reflects the current concussion crisis occurring in many contact sports around the world. This media analysis was conducted with the goal of finding trends in how concussions are discussed depending on the sport and when the documentary was made, and also to point towards the gaps in terminology where more work could be done to educate and warn people about concussions. The analysis consisted of viewing 15 full-length documentaries/films and analyzing them through a constructed codebook. The films were watched over a month-long period, allowing for the researcher to dive into many types of sports, sources, and opinions. The topic was chosen in an effort to incorporate communication and sports with the highly discussed topic of concussions. It was found that concussions are referred to in different ways based on the goals of the person speaking about them. There were also interesting trends in the data surrounding when athletes go through proper protocol versus rush back into play. The results will be presented in graphs and charts to portray their importance and effects. Due to the current focus of concussions in football specifically, there is growing need to analyze the way concussions are discussed in all outlets, and this analysis of documentaries aims to add to the discussion.