Brain Injury in Sport Research

Brain Injury in Sport is a research strand of the Sport and Exercise Research Centre.

We undertake interdisciplinary research that examines the short- and long-term outcomes of brain injury for individuals, athletes, military veterans, families, caregivers, and more.

Using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies;ongoing research avenues include:

  • caregiver experiences of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) from sport participation
  • concussion knowledge and attitudes and athlete reporting intentions
  • efficacy of concussion education programmes
  • media narratives around sport-related concussion

Strand leader

Dr Matthew Smith

Academic researchers

Key publications

Parry, K.D., White, A.J., Cleland, J., Hardwicke, J., Batten, J., Piggin, J., Howarth, N. (2021). Masculinities, media and the rugby mind: an analysis of stakeholder views on the relationship between rugby union, the media, masculine-influenced views on injury, and concussion. Communication & Sport.

Research video:

Smith, M., Young, G., Batten, J., Anderson, E., Parry, K.D., Collins, R., & White, A.J. (2021). Athletes with neurodegenerative disease: a phenomenological exploration of family members’ experiences. The Qualitative Report.

Research videos:

Athletes with neurodegenerative disease: a phenomenological exploration of family members’ experiences. An interactive resource consisting of a series of short videos

Young, J.A., Ganderton, C., White, A.J., Batten, J., Howarth, N., Downie, C., Pearce, A.J. (2021). The times are they a-changing? Evolving attitudes in Australian exercise science students’ attitudes towards sports concussion. The Journal of Sport and Exercise Science.

Research video:


Findings have been disseminated to other researchers, family members and charities. Additional impact work involves:

  • Developing resources/a curriculum to support family members who have lost someone
  • Evaluating intervention work (e.g., media, etc.) of the Concussion Legacy Foundation
  • Evaluating and developing policy documents for managing concussion in sport

Read our press release More support needed for families caring for former athletes with neurodegenerative disease.

Postgraduate research

PhD opportunities

Planned research activity that PhD students might support includes:

  • Considering how best to support others who have lost someone following a brain injury
  • Developing and evaluating a letter writing intervention for family members
  • Considering the impact of leadership and psychological safety for concussion reporting

Current research students

  • James Alder: The battle of the mind that never ends: investigating the efficacy of physical exercise as a treatment method for post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Jack Hardwicke: Inside the Peloton: an exploration into the culture of competitive road cycling with reference to masculinity, risk, and injury
  • Gary Turner: Taking the hits: an exploration to the risks faced from head impacts on the behaviour of fight sports athletes

Image top by BJPearce on Unsplash