Undergraduate Student, Zak Adams, Awarded Franklin Shirley Award by SSCA | Communication Studies
February 28, 2024

Undergraduate Student, Zak Adams, Awarded Franklin Shirley Award by SSCA

Congratulations are in store for UNT Communication Studies undergraduate, Zak Adams, who has been awarded the Franklin Shirley Award by the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) for his paper "'Is it an Injury, Or Is it Just Pain?' Memorable Messages Impact on Injury Identity Formation in Elite Baseball Players." This award recognizes the most outstanding paper submitted each year to SSCA's Theodore Clevenger Jr. Undergraduate Honors conference.

Zak has worked closely with UNTCOMM faculty member, Dr. Brian Richardson, to develop this paper, which stems from his project on memorable messages recalled by elite baseball players about their recovery from injuries. He conducted in-depth interviews with 11 former or active baseball players - all at the collegiate or professional levels - about their experiences recovering from injuries during their playing days. Zak analyzed how these messages influenced athletes with regard to a range of issues including their decision-making about play, timetables for recovery, and enthusiasm for the sport. Zak also considered the sources of these messages in terms of their credibility and how the messengers framed their feedback about pain/ injuries. Ultimately, Zak found support for the conclusion that memorable messages do affect athletes' perceptions about the injury recovery process.

Reflecting on their work together, Dr. Richardson said, "Zak was very passionate about this project, and it showed in his work ethic. He received a crash course in qualitative research methods. It didn't matter how much I gave him to read or do, he was always ready to do more. Elite athlete injury recovery is an important topic and I look forward to continuing to work with Zak in this area." A former minor league baseball player himself, Zak has a passion promoting baseball talent for individuals ranging from youth to adults.

Congratulations, Zak! We are elated to see you win this award and cannot wait to see how your future in communication continues to grow and evolve.