Accepted Paper:

Knowledge Contested and Knowledge Absent: NFL Concussion Data and Legal Outcomes  


Jennifer Croissant (University of Arizona)

Paper short abstract:

A recent class action settlement against the U.S. National Football League both discloses and withholds information about head injuries in "American" football. Agnotology (the study of ignorance) compares the production of knowledge/non-knowledge to other cases of producing uncertainty and doubt.

Paper long abstract:

A recent series of legal cases in the National Football League (United States, 2015) produced a class-action settlement which both discloses and withholds information about concussion and sub-concussive head impacts in "American" football. A detailed reading of case materials and media allows for examination of this as a case of agnotology (the study of ignorance). The production of knowledge and non-knowledge is similar to but different from other cases of producing uncertainty and doubt, which will be compared and contrasted. Several dimensions allow cross-case comparisons, but the role of football in U.S. configurations of masculinity add a layer of complexity to ideas about choice, risk, and consent to the pattern of disclosure/nondisclosure surrounding and resulting from the legal settlement.

Panel T095
Sport, Technoscience, Medicine and Performance