Sports Injury Research - Public Relations 101You might have noticed a growing trend lately, which is that a lot of schools and colleges are beginning to have a more involved study of sports injuries. In fact, there seems to be a new topic for every school; there seems to be one week in the spring where the topic of sports injuries is more popular than ever. However, do these topics really make a difference in people's lives?
The short answer is no. It's only a matter of public relations. While research papers on sports injuries often make news, this isn't likely to result in any real change in people's lives.
Let's look at how schools usually cover sports injuries: the news. In order to get people to pay attention to sports, it seems like everyone goes to the news. Whether it's sports, health or anything else, news outlets seem to have an eye on it. Even when the news focuses on things that really don't affect the public at large, they still try to capture the attention of the public.
Studies, of course, tend to follow the same pattern. When they are done, students have to write about things they've heard on TV, read about in a newspaper or read in a magazine. A good example of this is with public interest stories, which are stories in which the media or government has something to do with an event, and if there's a positive aspect, the focus is on the public.
It all makes sense, because media and government have something to do with public interest. Therefore, the focus can be on the public interest that these institutions promote. It seems to be a logical model, so it is an accepted model in most cases.
However, it's also unfortunate that public interest stories rarely mention why some people get injured. Instead, they focus on the injuries themselves and the effects they have on people. They never acknowledge why sports injuries happen, or how sports can be improved.
It is too bad that sports injury research tends to ignore the problem of why sports injuries happen. It is not just that it's a small topic, it's not just that there is so little money to be made in research papers on sports injuries. No, the real problem is that these sports injury research papers, which never get into the 'why' part, end up making people think sports are inherently dangerous.
If you're looking for a way to move public policy forward, your research papers on sports injuries should include at least a little bit of information on how sports are managed in the first place. Just because the media loves sports doesn't mean that it is any more fun or healthier than any other activity. After all, it takes a lot of hard work to enjoy a sport, and it's no coincidence that people who enjoy sports also do well in them.