The Sport of Communicating Injuries

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September 16, 2019
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Injuries are a part of sports.  Especially big-time sports.  But how they are communicated is vastly different from sport-to-sport.

Just this past weekend, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger were injured.  Brees suffered a thumb injury and Roethlisberger injured his elbow.  Both are scheduled for surgery.  Earlier in the week, we had learned that New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has mononucleosis.

In baseball, two-time MVP and eight-time All-Star outfielder Mike Trout will undergo surgery to remove a Morton's neuroma in his right foot.  That’s almost too much information!

The communication of hockey injuries is a whole different animal.  Typically, the reporting is as vague and unspecific as a “lower body injury” or an “upper body injury.”  It was announced over the weekend that Arizona Coyotes’ captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson has an injury, possibly related to a knee injury he suffered last season.  Here is how Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka described the timing of the injury to the Arizona Republic:

“In some ways, yes; in some ways, no.  It’s just something that’s been nagging him for a number of years now.  Just an opportunity for him to clean it up and get ready for the season, so he’s 100 percent healthy and strong, so he’s got no concerns heading into the season.”

Hockey is the last pro sport where most of the players are in it for the “love of the game.”  They’re some of the best athletes on the planet and what they can do on skates is mind-boggling.  It’s a throwback to when the players, as a general rule, were humble and “just want to contribute to the team.”

The communication of the players’ injuries is also a throwback – to the dark ages of communication.  In these days of higher demands for transparency in all facets of communication, it might be time for hockey to adapt to what’s accepted as today’s best practices in communicating with its publics.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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