Thursday Jan 07, 2021

Episode 59: Ethnography of a Gridiron Concussion Crisis with Lucía Trimbur, Part I

In this episode of The End of Sport, Nathan and Johanna speak with Dr. Lucía Trimbur, an Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies at John Jay College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and a Global Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Trimbur talked with us about her forthcoming ethnographic work about the concussion crisis in football, and interweaves insights about her past work on boxing into an absolutely fascinating conversation.

In the first of a two-part episode, Dr. Trimbur walks us through her ongoing research for Lights Out: The Creation of the Concussion Crisis for Columbia University Press on the innerworkings of a football program at an un-named Ivy League school. She specifically focuses on their conversations about the concussion crisis, in terms how athletes, coaches, trainers, etc. approach the issue and calculate their daily and long-term decisions for playing the game. She also is doing research beyond the field to understand how the game, schools, and the NCAA has historically adapted to the concussion crisis in terms of rules and penalties.

She moreover shared how–surprisingly to her and us—quickly the football program agreed to allow her to study them by joining their meetings, practices, games, and much more. Dr. Trimbur shared how in both her past study of Gleason’s Gym for Come Out Swinging and the concussion one, people proved more than willing to share their insights and even sought out her attention and feedback at times.

Stay tuned for the second part of the interview, where we talk about the harmful racial politics behind ‘race norming’ in the 2015 NFL Concussion Settlement (she wrote about it here), the role of athlete-activists in Trumpist America (published about it here), the position of Sport Studies in the academy (here), and much more!

Dr. Trimbur’s first book, Come Out Swinging: The Changing World of Boxing in Gleason’s Gym can be found here.

You can find Dr. Trimbur on Twitter!


For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)


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