Mental Health Disclosure in the Public Eye: Accounting for and Managing Absences From Professional Sporting Competition
The purpose of this paper is to consider how professional sports players and their sporting clubs and associations publicly manage the disclosure of mental health issues that result in a players enforced absence from competition. The paper focuses on official or authorised press statements, press conferences (and transcripts thereof), social media posts and official websites, to consider public discourses and media coverage of mental health in professional sport. The research is informed by the principles and methods of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. Presented here are two retrospective 'mental injury' timelines from two professional sports players in the UK (namely Sarah Taylor, cricketer and Aaron Lennon, footballer), starting with the initial announcement that the player will not be participating and ending with the announcement of their reintegration into their team's routine match day activities. Several important findings have emerged, including: whether the original announcement was (in)voluntary; the categorisation of mental health conditions employed; the details made public in press statements and what is added in subsequent press conferences and interviews; and the open-ended return time-frames. At stake is how a player's (patient) confidentiality clashes with the need to reliably and accurately inform the public, via the media, in these cases.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : ELSEY, C. (2019) Mental Health Disclosure in the Public Eye: Accounting for and Managing Absences From Professional Sporting Competition. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11 (4), pp. 435-459
ISSN : 2159-676X
Research Institute : Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Peer Reviewed : Yes