Dr Matt Ventresca is a Visiting Fellow working with Prof Kate Henne on the Regulatory Science and Traumatic Brain Injury research project. He is an interdisciplinary researcher trained in the Sociology of Sport, Science and Technology Studies, Media Studies, and Critical Health Studies, with a PhD from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada). After undertaking postdoctoral fellowships at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Sociology, 2016-2018), the University of Calgary (Kinesiology, 2018-2020; Communication, Media & Film, 2020-21), he returned to Queen’s University in 2022.
Dr Ventresca’s research investigates two related issues at the intersections of health, media, and science: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and painkilling drugs. His work on TBI focuses on the politics of knowledge production in what has come to be known as sport’s “concussion crisis”. He examines how scientific research, media representations and legal cases intertwine to inform (and resist) inequities in how this “crisis” is addressed across different sports contexts. He co-edited Sociocultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Routledge, 2020), the first interdisciplinary collection of critical qualitative research about sport-related TBI.
Dr Ventresca’s work on painkilling drugs began with a 2014 co-authored journal article “When is a Drug Not a Drug?”, which analysed the “uneasy silence” around the use of opioid painkillers in the National Football League (NFL). He has since resumed this area of work, publishing a new journal article that dives further into the inequities shaping the use of painkillers in professional football and exploring the workings of racial capitalism in the NFL. Through his current postdoctoral fellowship at Queen’s University, he continues this line of research by investigating the socio-legal dimensions of drug poisoning deaths among athletes and contemporary advocacy for the use of cannabis as a safer painkilling alternative.
Ventresca M & King S (2022) “Anesthetized Gladiators:” Painkilling and Racial Capitalism in the NFL. Sociology of Sport, online first.
Henne K & Ventresca M (2020) A Criminal Mind? A Damaged Brain? Narratives of Criminality and Culpability in the Celebrated Case of Aaron Hernandez. Crime, Media, Culture 16(3), 395-413.
Ventresca M (2020) The Tangled Multiplicities of CTE: Scientific Uncertainty and the Infrastructures of Traumatic Brain Injury. In Sports, Society and Technology. Palgrave Macmillan.
Ventresca M & McDonald MG (2020) Sociocultural Examinations of Sports Concussions. Routledge.
Ventresca M (2019) The Curious Case of CTE: Mediating Materialities of Traumatic Brain Injury. Communication & Sport 7(2), 135-156.