The price of admission: football players' sacrificial conceptions of career and health through metaphors of war, religion, and family




Alekajbaf, Nicolette Lea

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With the recent discovery of traumatic brain injuries developing in retired professional football players, this study seeks to explore players’ perceptions of their careers in the sport, and how this may reflect notions of personal health over the long-term. Current and former football players, athletic staff, and other members of the football community were interviewed with the goal of learning about the full trajectory of a football career. Using grounded metaphorical analysis to examine the interview data, our study found the use of metaphor by participants to be integral in players’ descriptions of their careers. Participants likened aspects of their careers to enduring a war, having a religious experience, and being part of a family unit. Long-term, post-career health implications are discussed in relation to players’ conceiving of their experiences through these metaphors, along with limitations of the study and directions for future research.



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