Over the past decade, the topic of concussions in the National Football League has increased in discourse as more information about the long term effects of head injuries has come out. The way the media portrays the topic has a significant impact on how the general public perceives the issue, as well as how solutions to the issue are proposed. The purpose of this study is to perform a frame analysis on 30 digital media news articles from 2009-2019. The frames presented in the study are based on elements from the Health Belief Model and the Extended Parallel Process Model. The results show that perceived susceptibility varies in the way it is framed year to year, while perceived severity is framed as high. Also, more fear appeal articles express danger control processes than they do fear control processes. These results suggest that the NFL is likely to take health action in preventing concussions according to the Health Belief Model, and more active approaches to preventing concussions are taken than passive coping strategies. Implications for the study include an existing lack of insight on player perceptions of the issue, as well as digital media being an area for positive promotion in the National Football League. Recommendations for future research are also provided.


Zhu, Yi


Communication Studies


Health Communication | Sports Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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