Page 9 - Athletic Health Handbook
P. 9
Purpose age range. Furthermore, there are by divulging every gory detail to an
Websites dedicated to finding and eager audience, but in doing so may
The purpose of this article is to following professional athletes shoot himself in the foot by revealing
analyze the growing issue of social on social media networks.3 The what should be confidential
media in sports medicine. Examples most prolific of which is Ronaldo, information. The ramifications
of inappropriate communications a Portuguese soccer player with of these imprudent disclosures can
are presented and guidelines to team Real Madrid, who has an amazing be quite costly for the athlete’s career
physicians are offered. 67,084,801 followers on Facebook or future market value, particularly
and Twitter. if they expose a potentially career
Introduction threatening injury. Journalists now
The list of athletes who have found scour the social media superhighways
“The only thing worse than being themselves at the center of major for such sensational tales of
talked about is not being talked about.” incidents is endless. So, why do they misfortune to fill their pages
—Oscar Wilde continue to make the same mistakes? in the mainstream media.
Because ignoring social media is no
Social media has become so pervasive longer an option; the lure of social When Twits Tweet
in modern society that it is changing media channels offer athletes the
the way in which we interact with one opportunity to significantly There are a myriad of examples
another.1 This form of ubiquitously strengthen their marketability. of ill-advised posts on Twitter and
accessible and contemporaneous But, more often than not, engaging throughout social media. Included
communication has been embraced in this form of communication below are examples of some of the
by professional athletes, who seek to represents a flagrant act of self- more high profile incidents in the
enhance their personal brands. Social aggrandizement. This is never so true recent past both in the United States
networking sites such as Facebook as when an athlete has been injured and Europe:
and Twitter allow these athletes to and faces the prospect of being out Example 1: Cyberchondria
put their lives on show for everyone of the public eye for a period of time. and Cyberdiagnosis
to see, and in doing so increase The athlete understandably reaches A high profile National Football
their accessibility to their fan base. out for sympathy and reassurance League (NFL) player, who sustained
However, with such instantaneous that he is still important and does a hamstring injury, posted a still
promulgation of information, it is so by sharing the details of his image of his MRI on his Twitter
common for inappropriate or experience and torment. The account with the statement:
injudicious messages to be picked up deflation of sustaining the injury
by the mainstream media and used is temporarily alleviated by this Figure 1
to pillory these often times naïve newfound surge in attention.
individuals. The impact of one ill- “This is an MRI of my hamstring,
considered post on the athlete’s career It is important to recognize that The white stuff surrounding the
can be monumental and life changing. not only is the player’s reputation muscle is known in the medical
at risk but so too is the standing world as anti-awesomeness.”
The growth in social media has and character of the team doctor.
been exponential. Facebook currently The tweet was taken up by ESPN
boasts over 1.2 billion members. Attracted by Tragedy who sought the opinion of their
Statistics reveal that 98 percent of medical expert and offered a prognosis
18–24 year olds use social networking The ancient Greeks recognized the for his return to play based on the
on a regular basis, spending on entertainment value of tragedy.4 MRI image, which read:
average 15 hours and 33 minutes In tragedies, bad things happen,
per month on Facebook. The average and, what is more, they often happen
number of tweets per day already to good people. Thus, tragedies
exceeds 190 million.2 Although naturally evoke sympathetic suffering,
it is difficult to establish the precise pity, or fear. The paradox exists in
number of athletes who use this that people yearn for information
medium, one can safely predict it about tragedies because they are
represents the majority, because compelling, exciting, and noteworthy.
they typically fall within the above The athlete can feed the frenzy

THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPORT 9
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