Does Public Interest in Specific Injuries Increase When They Occur During Mixed Martial Arts Bouts? A Study of Google Search Patterns - United States Sports Academy Sports Journal

Does Public Interest in Specific Injuries Increase When They Occur During Mixed Martial Arts Bouts? A Study of Google Search Patterns - United States Sports Academy Sports Journal


Does Public Interest in Specific Injuries Increase When They Occur During Mixed Martial Arts Bouts? A Study of Google Search Patterns - United States Sports Academy Sports Journal

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 04:37 AM PDT

Authors: William B. Roberts, MS; Michael E. Bibens BS; Matt Vassar, PhD.

Institution:Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Dept. of Institutional Research

Institution Address: 1111 West 17th Street, Tulsa, OK, 74107

Corresponding Author: William Roberts; 1111 West 17th Street, Tulsa, OK, 74107; will.roberts10@okstate.edu

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have nothing to disclose.

Does Public Interest in Specific Injuries Increase When They Occur During Mixed Martial Arts Bouts? A Study of Google Search Patterns

ABSTRACT:

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport that combines fighting techniques from many disciplines, such as wrestling, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Despite this sport's popularity –  influenced by the internet and social media –  the effect of high-profile MMA injuries on the public's subsequent online search patterns has yet to be explored. In this study, we examined injuries from popular UFC bouts and observe whether the volume of Google searches for specific injuries increased after the associated fights. Google Trend (GT) searches were conducted in order to evaluate the relationship between fighter search popularity and injury search popularity during the week the fight took place. The percent change in search interest for injuries increased in 9 of 10 cases (Mdn = 446%, IQR: 168.75%-1643.75%). The findings of this study are expected to inform sports medicine personnel regarding specific platforms for sharing their insights and recommendations for the treatment and prevention of MMA injuries and other trauma-related injuries. This study highlights how investigation of public search interest may ultimately have a positive impact on health care outcomes.  Through the use of analyzing MMA injuries and the search patterns associated with them, the results of this study may aid sports medicine personnel in directing patients to online information that they have personally reviewed and approved.

Keywords: Google Trends, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Infodemiology, Public Interest, Altmetrics, Twitter

INTRODUCTION

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport based on the fighting techniques from many disciplines, such as wrestling, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Bouts take place in an octagon-shaped cage and last either 3 or 5 rounds, depending on whether the bout is for a weight class championship. Fighters can defeat their opponent by knockout, referee stoppage, submission, or outscoring an opponent based upon the judges' decision (21). In the early 1990s MMA made its way to the United States as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Over time, the MMA has experienced a global surge in popularity and has attracted widespread media coverage (3,6).        

While the internet and social media have played an important role in advancing MMA popularity, these media outlets have also become a means to publicize fight injuries. For example, MMA fighters have shared radiographic images of their injuries with fans on social media to make these injuries appear more genuine and to stimulate public interest (26). In addition, these outlets may also be used by experts, such as orthopedic surgeons, to teach the public about MMA and other traumatic sports related orthopedic injuries. Approximately 21% of orthopedic surgeons have a Facebook or Twitter account, and they could potentially use these platforms to lower the frequency of these injuries and increase the accuracy of information available regarding their treatment (7).

Previous studies using GT data have examined the effects of awareness campaigns on searches for particular disorders, such as deep vein thrombosis, skin cancer, and breast cancer (15,17,29,30-32) Other studies have focused on the influence celebrities have on public awareness of various disorders. Studies on search interest after Katie Couric's colon cancer, Angelina Jolie's breast cancer, and Robin Williams's depression have found that public interest increased following a celebrity's statement about a diagnosis or treatment (4,8,12).

Despite previous GT studies, the effect of high-profile MMA injuries on the public's subsequent online search patterns has yet to be explored. This effect could be assessed by analyzing the frequency of Google keyword searches (5). Here we examine injuries from popular UFC bouts and observe whether the volume of Google searches for specific injuries increases after the associated fights. Results from this study may inform sports medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, and others about public search interest in the UFC and related traumatic sports injuries at the time of occurrence (7,9). In turn, practitioners who diagnose, treat, and manage such injuries may consider creating a list of approved online resources with accurate information for their patients and social media followers.

METHODS

Data source    

Our sample of injuries was gathered from "Sherdog's Top 10 Worst UFC Injuries" available at www.sherdog.com (31). In addition to recording injury information, we recorded the name of the fighter sustaining the injury, the date of injury occurrence, and the fighter's popularity (measured by the number of Twitter followers).

Google Trends evaluation

Google Trends (GT) was used to evaluate search interest in these injuries before and after the bouts in question. GT is a free, publicly accessible online platform that captures temporal and geospatial internet search patterns for user-specified keywords (26). GT searches were conducted on June 4, 2018, by one of us (WR). GT can be searched using topics (i.e., a group of terms that share the same concept, in any language) or terms (i.e., search terms that show matches for all search terms in the query, in only the language searched). Searching by topic may be thought of as being more specific, while searching by term is more sensitive. For example, if one searches for the sport "Mixed Martial Arts" as a topic, users will see GT data for all searches related to MMA (e.g., UFC fighters, UFC bouts), but no search returns unrelated to MMA. In contrast, if one searches for "mixed martial arts" as a term, search returns related to mixed (e.g., mixed drinks), martial (e.g., dictionary definition of martial), and arts (e.g., local art museums). There is not a topic for everything, so in our study we used a combination of searches by topic and term.

Google Trends fighter-injury search

Each fighter was searched as a topic, and their injury was searched as a term. To illustrate this difference more clearly, when Leslie Smith was entered into GT, a drop-down menu provided a list of suggestions. The first suggestion was to search Leslie Smith as a term, and all other suggestions enabled searching Leslie Smith as a topic. We chose the topic Leslie Smith with the correct description (i.e., American mixed martial artist). The second part of each GT search included the injury that was sustained during the fight, searched as a term. For example, a complete search from this study included Leslie Smith (American mixed martial artist) and "cauliflower ear" as a term, and it yielded 2 sets of search data. Using this search combination allowed us to visualize spikes in the fighter and the injury occurring simultaneously. All our searches and their search filter settings are included in Table 1.

Table 1: Fighters and their characteristics.

Injured Fighter Google Trends Description Injury Searched Twitter followers Percent change in Injury Search Interest Number of Weeks to Return to Baseline Time Range Searched
Anderson Silva Brazilian mixed martial artist Broken Leg 8.08M 2600 3 weeks June 30, 2013-2014
Tim Sylvia American mixed martial arts fighter Dislocated Elbow 18.1K 2400 4 weeks Jan 25th, 2004-2005
Jon Jones American mixed martial artist Broken Toe 2.03M 1800 3 weeks Oct. 28th, 2012-2013
Rory MacDonald Canadian mixed martial artist Broken Nose 229K 1175 6 weeks Jan. 11th, 2015-2016
Antonia Rodrigo Nogueira Brazilian mixed martial artist Broken Arm 1.33M 525 5 weeks Jun. 12th, 2011-2012
Corey Hill American mixed martial artist Broken Leg No Twitter Account 367 6 weeks Jun. 15th, 2008-2009
Leslie Smith American mixed martial artist Cauliflower Ear 21.9K 225 2 weeks May. 18th, 2014-2015
Rich Franklin American mixed martial artist Broken Nose 200K 150 2 weeks Apr. 16th, 2006-2007
Mark Hominick Canadian mixed martial artist Hematoma 56.3K 112 3 weeks Oct. 31st 2010-2011
Brandon Vera Mixed martial artist Broken Jaw 101K 0 No change in interest Sept. 27th, 2009-2010

Google Trends filter application

To narrow the scope of each search we applied 4 filters: location, time range, category, and search type. The location filter was set to "worldwide." The time range filter for each fighter included data points 6 months before and 6 months after each fight. The category filter was "health," thus allowing us to compare search volumes of each fighter and injury to all searches in the health category (5,28) The search type filter was set to "web search."

Google Trends data scaling

GT data are not displayed as the total number of searches over time. Rather, GT accounts for search volume and population density in a certain region (13). Therefore, equal search volume will be charted differently for countries with different populations. This adjustment ensures that large populations, with higher raw numbers of search volumes, will not be perceived as always having the greatest interest in a search. Google Trends' data are scaled from 0 to 100 where 0 indicates no search data are available and 100 indicates the greatest search interest for a topic or search term (19). When multiple items are searched simultaneously on GT, only the item with the highest search interest peaks at 100. For example, if we search Leslie Smith and "cauliflower ear," only one of the plots of GT data will peak at 100. All other points in time for each plot will be scaled proportionally relative to the peak. When a spike in search interest for the fighter and injury occurred at the same time, we called this pattern of co-occurrence an "alignment."

Data analysis

To enhance the reproducibility of our search we applied recommendations from the Checklist for Documentation of Google Trends by Nuti et al (24). Because of the small sample size, we used nonparametric statistics to analyze our data. Non parametric tests are distribution independent tests which are useful while using medians for analysis (25). Thus, median (IQRs) were used to summarize the data. Spearman's rho was used to evaluate the association between the number of Twitter followers and the percent change in search behavior from baseline to peak. All statistical analyses were conducted using Stata 15.1.

RESULTS

Our sample size consisted of 10 injured fighters. The characteristics of these 10 fighters are shown in Table 1. The number of Twitter followers for each fighter ranged from 18.1K to 8.08 million. A co-occurring pattern was observed between searches for the fighter and for the injury (i.e., an alignment) in 9 of 10 cases (Figure 1). The percent change in search interest for injuries increased in 9 of 10 cases (median = 446%, IQR: 168.75%-1643.75%). Anderson Silva's broken leg and Tim Silvia's dislocated shoulder accounted for the greatest changes in search interest from baseline. Search interest for injuries returned to baseline in the ensuing weeks following each fight (median = 3weeks, IQR: 2.25-4.75 weeks). A moderate correlation was found between the number of Twitter followers and the percent change in search interest from baseline to peak (rs=.40)

Figure 1

DISCUSSION

Results from our study indicate that public interest in particular injuries increased following high-profile UFC fights. This finding may encourage timely dissemination of evidence-based information about particular injuries since search interest appears to increase shortly after injury occurrence. Here, we first discuss the roles of YouTube and social media in disseminating health information to large audiences in a timely manner. These two platforms are commonly used by the public to become familiar with recently occurring athletic injuries as well as sports medicine personnel when directing patients to online information that they have personally reviewed and approved. We then discuss potential avenues to maximize the accurate dissemination about sports-related injuries following bouts.

YouTube video accuracy

When the public seeks out health information on the internet, many options are available, and YouTube may be among the most popular of alternatives. An impressive body of literature is focused on the quality of health information presented to the public on YouTube. A systematic review on the use of YouTube to disseminate health information found that YouTube videos contain misleading information—mostly anecdotal—and the information often contradicts reference standards (23). Gonzalez-Estrada et al. (16) reported that the majority of YouTube videos on asthma management contained alternative approaches, such as live-fish ingestion and reflexology, as opposed to evidence-based treatments. In orthopedics, MacLeod et al. (22) found that information about femoroacetabular impingement on YouTube was of low overall quality, and a study on the X-stop device for lumbar spinal stenosis found that YouTube videos about the device contained a high degree of misinformation and failed to describe the controversy surrounding its use (2). Further, some studies have noted that reputable organizations (e.g., professional medical societies, disease-specific societies and organizations) are not producing videos on YouTube to combat the large volume of misinformation, and even when high-quality videos are available, they may not be prominently ranked by YouTube's search algorithm (1,18). Collectively, these studies call for the dissemination of better evidence-based information to the public. This current deficit in accurate health information is best addressed by the physicians with expertise on the topic. Lander et al. (20) reported that one-third of orthopedic surgeons in their sample had posted at least 1 YouTube video, and this platform may be important for knowledge dissemination, given its fairly high use by orthopedic surgeons and the public.

Social media for dissemination

Social media presents another popular option for the dissemination of health care information. It has been estimated that only 21% of United States-based orthopedic surgeons have Facebook pages and 14% have Twitter accounts (7). However, given that 50% of orthopedic patients use social media, and of these, sports medicine patients use these platforms more than patients in all other orthopedic subspecialties (9), it seems prudent for the sports medicine community to use these platforms for disseminating accurate health information. Social media outlets are efficient mechanisms for releasing information in real time, and they could easily be used to provide accurate information about particular injuries that occur during sporting events, such as UFC fights. Djuricich (10) introduced the concept of evidence-based tweeting as one approach to quickly making research evidence available to large audiences.

Strengths and weaknesses

Our study has several strengths. We used the checklist by Nuti et al. (24) when developing the search strategies for this study to make our searches reproducible. We made careful use of the search functionality of GT and gave thorough consideration to each search term. Our study also had limitations. For one, the fights we selected were based on a ranking provided by Sherdog. While this site is widely used in the MMA community, there is a possibility of bias in these rankings. There are also limitations inherent in using GT data. For example, all data associated with GT are anonymous, which limits the ability of researchers to make assertions regarding the search patterns of different patient groups. Also, data are normalized, which limited our ability to examine the true magnitude of search volumes that could be obtained from raw search data. Furthermore, not all internet searches are conducted using the Google search engine.

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding the ways in which the public prefers to search for information on injuries may aid sports medicine personnel in directing patients to online information that they have personally reviewed and approved. Thus, sports medicine personnel may play a contributing role in increasing the accuracy of online health by decreasing the amount of inaccurate information that is accessible by the public (11,14).

The findings of this study are expected to inform orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, and athletic trainers on the specific electronically based platforms of which to disseminate their insights and recommendations for treatment and prevention of MMA injuries and other trauma-related injuries. This use of social media and online websites could lead to increased accuracy of online health information and ultimately improve treatment and prevention of these associated injuries. More broadly, this study highlights how investigation of public search interest may have a positive impact on health care outcomes.

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FIGURE LEGENDS
Figure 1. Google search volumes for the injured UFC fighter and the particular injury. Searches were conducted 6 months pre- and post injury. Dotted blue lines represent the fighter. Solid orange lines represent the injury.

Phone Checks at Hong Kong’s Border Worry Travelers to Mainland China - The New York Times

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 05:33 AM PDT

HONG KONG — Chinese border officers have begun routinely searching the phones of people who enter mainland China from Hong Kong, raising concerns that Beijing is trying to identify travelers sympathetic to the territory's protest movement and further control what its people see about the unrest.

During the phone checks, officers look through photos, messages and other apps, three people whose devices were searched told The New York Times. As far as the travelers could tell, the people selected for extra inspections were mostly young men. The demonstrations have been largely youth-driven.

The searches have come to light as the protests, now in their third month, have grown increasingly violent and disruptive, drawing sharp denunciations from the mainland Chinese leadership and raising the possibility that it might crack down on the demonstrators.

Chinese paramilitary forces have gathered in Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong. On Thursday, tarp-covered troop transports and armored personnel carriers were seen parked outside a Shenzhen stadium.

The travelers whom The Times interviewed entered the mainland from West Kowloon station in Hong Kong, where the territory connects to China's vast high-speed rail network, and where part of the terminal is under mainland Chinese jurisdiction.

But Au Nok-hin, a pro-democracy member of Hong Kong's legislature, said he had heard in the past week or two about travelers' phones being checked at other crossings along the border, where there is a large flow of people in both directions every day.

"The ideological control from China is very tough," Mr. Au said.

The Chinese authorities are not alone in demanding to examine travelers' cellphones. Warrantless searches of phones and laptops by United States border agents have grown rapidly in recent years.

[President Trump says 'Hong Kong is not helping' in trade war with China.]

Even before train service began last year at the gleaming, clamshell-shaped station in the West Kowloon district, it attracted controversy over the Hong Kong's government decision to allow mainland Chinese officers to enforce mainland law there.

The plan raised concerns among democracy supporters in Hong Kong about a further loss of autonomy for the territory — the same issue that has been one of the animating forces behind this summer's antigovernment protests.

Image
CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Billy Li, a representative for the Progressive Lawyers Group, which promotes democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong, compared the situation to the case of local booksellers who vanished several years ago.

The men were involved in an industry that produced racy potboilers about the mainland's Communist Party leadership. It turned out that they had been taken into custody in mainland China. They gave televised confessions, which one later said had been forced.

The incidents "caused a huge outcry about mainland law being applied in Hong Kong," Mr. Li said. "Now we see it daily in West Kowloon station."

"What we were concerned about has now become a reality," he said.

On the mainland Chinese side of the station on Thursday, travelers described the extra inspection they underwent.

After presenting their IDs, they said, they were taken into a small area enclosed by black canvas panels. There, several uniformed officers were seated at tables, and travelers were asked to unlock their cellphones. Some officers flipped through the phones, while others checked bags and luggage.

At no point did the officers say what they were looking for, the travelers said. All three said that this was the first time the authorities had checked their phones while crossing into mainland China from Hong Kong.

It is not clear, from the travelers' accounts, what the precise purpose of the search was. The officers did not force travelers to delete all images of the protests, although they did seem to keep records of whose phones they searched.

When asked why travelers' phones were being checked, an employee at the train station said the searches were only for "bad people." He did not elaborate.

"I'm not happy about it," said one of the travelers, Hsu Tzu Hung, a science teacher in Shenzhen. "What's the legal basis for this?"

Mr. Hsu, 22, had just flown into Hong Kong on Thursday morning after a trip back to his native Taiwan.

CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The officers looked at Mr. Hsu's messages on WeChat, a social app that is ubiquitous in mainland China, but did not open the Line messenger, which is popular in Taiwan. Mr. Hsu said he was allowed to leave after around 10 minutes.

Arain Lin, a 26-year-old native of Fujian Province in China, was traveling back to the mainland on Thursday after vacationing in Hong Kong. He said the phone inspection seemed "targeted" at anything connected to the demonstrations.

While his device was being checked, he said, officers seemed particularly interested in the videos he had taken the previous day at Hong Kong's airport, where he dropped off a friend and happened to spot some demonstrations.

The officers at West Kowloon station asked Mr. Lin why he had taken the videos. He told them what he said was the truth: "I was just curious."

In the end, the officers did not order Mr. Lin to delete the videos. Mr. Lin said he could not remember how long the whole thing lasted. He had been too nervous to pay attention.

A Hong Kong resident who gave only his surname, Chen, told The Times that when officers searched his cellphone on Thursday, they asked why he didn't have many photos. He told them it was his backup device.

Wary that such checks might occur, Mr. Chen said he always made sure to leave his main phone at home when he travels to mainland China, and to check what he brings in his bags.

Not that he is happy about having to take such precautions. "It's a pain," he said.

Mr. Chen, 25, was going to the mainland only for the day to visit relatives, so he did not have to carry much luggage, a fact for which he was grateful in light of the extra border inspection.

He said he could only guess what happened to people who were found to have sensitive materials on their devices.

For his backup phone, Mr. Chen has gone so far as to choose a wallpaper meant to dispel the authorities' suspicions: a map of China with yellow stars on a red background, just like the Chinese flag.

These are the micro-trends taking over fashion this summer - Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 01:10 AM PDT

Actress Megalyn Echikunwoke embodies the neon trend at last week's Teen Choice Awards.

Actress Megalyn Echikunwoke embodies the neon trend at last week's Teen Choice Awards.Credit:AP

On a trip to New York in March, I couldn't help notice the number of mannequins at Bloomingdale's flagship store that were clad in neon. Neon dresses, neon shoes, neon bags. Could the trend really be making (another) comeback?

We now know it is, with data released this week by US-based luxury re-sale website The RealReal showing it was one of the most-searched terms on its site, up more than 350 per cent.

The trend is already starting to appear in stores in Australia such as David Jones, which featured a two-piece outfit by Adelaide-based Acler in its presentation to media last week. Swedish brand Acne studios has a neon green skivvy (available in Australia at Harrolds), while Jac & Jack has T-shirts and knits in acid yellow and hot pink.

So how can you wear neon and look sophisticated? Easy, says Jac Hunt, of Jac & Jack.

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