The public's perception has always favoured the die hard athletes, the one who will put their neck on the line no matter what the cost, but with political correctness and health and safety taking the fore, many people think perceptions might be changing. A survey suggested that a large proportion of the public consider people who play on with injuries to be tough, warrior like individuals. This may well be the case, but with the chronic (long term) implications of playing on with an injury becoming ever more apparent, it seems the public's perceptions might be changing.
A study published in the journal Communication & Sport has suggested that previously, people considered someone that sat out with an injury to be soft and weak, but now the public's view appears to be more supportive of the injured player. Sanderson, one of the researchers refers to an American Football example:
"Surprisingly, given that Cutler has been viewed as possessing a terse personality, the most common frame was supportive, consisting of positive statements defending Cutler's decision to remove himself from the championship game".
He also went on to explain how the fans and even the media targeted the blame for the footballers injury on the coaches, medical team and the playing surface. So what’s going on, are we becoming soft and weak as a species, or are we simply becoming better informed and realising that playing on with an injury will cause more damage than good!
We don’t want people to become weak and soft, but rather I think it implies that we want to see the best athletes on show for as long as possible, and playing on with a nasty sprain, strain or break is counter intuitive to this.
ScienceDaily, (2014). Hero or sissy? Study explores perception of injured athletes. Retrieved 30th May, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140530092753.htm