Are female athletes more susceptible to sports-related concussions than their male counterparts? If you are an athlete or the parent of a child who plays sports, it’s important to understand the role that gender can play in the likelihood of sustaining a sports-related head injury like post-concussive syndrome. This understanding can encourage you and your athlete to take the appropriate preventative measures.
In today’s post, the experts at the Neuro Visual Center of New York delve into the statistics on gender and sports concussions, and explain what measures you can take to prevent these types of injuries.
Does Your Gender Affect Your Risk of Sustaining a Sports Concussion?
If you’re watching sports coverage on television or reading about sports news online, you’re likely to hear much more about sports concussions sustained by male athletes than female ones. However, studies indicate that female athletes have a higher rate of sports concussions than men.
Media coverage of sports-related injuries is skewed because male-dominated sports like football and basketball get significantly more coverage than women’s sports. Yet girls’ sports may actually be more dangerous. Girls’ soccer, in particular, has an alarmingly high rate of concussions, with female soccer players reporting almost twice the amount of concussions as males, according to a study in Psychology Today. In fact, girls’ soccer has the second highest number of concussions among all sports for young athletes.
According to the NCAA, for every 1,000 games and practices, women soccer players sustain an average of 2.2 concussions, while male players have an average of 1.4. In addition, women basketball players had an average of 1.2 concussions, compared to men with an average of 0.6.
Why Do Female Athletes Have a Higher Rate of Concussions?
While these statistics reveal a higher rate of concussions among female athletes than male athletes, they do not explain the reason. One theory blames the anatomy of the female neck, which is generally more slender than the male neck, and therefore more vulnerable to trauma from impact. In addition, the female head tends to be smaller than the male head, which may also contribute to women’s higher rate of concussions.
Female hormones may play a role too, causing women to experience the symptoms of a concussion, such as headaches and dizziness, more severely than men. This could make women more likely to report their concussions and seek treatment for them, which would impact the statistics.
How to Prevent Sports-Related Head Trauma
The best way to prevent sports-related head trauma is to wear the appropriate protective gear for your particular sport. Additionally, if you recently sustained a head injury, no matter how minor, it’s important to take a break from impact sports for awhile, as repeat head injuries can cause more severe damage.
Knowing how to spot the symptoms of a concussion is also very important, as some collisions that lead to head trauma may seem minor or negligible at first, but could actually cause serious damage. If you experience migraines, nausea, blurred vision, confusion or disorientation, we recommend seeking medical attention immediately.
Neuro Visual Center of New York provides expert care for post-concussive syndrome and related symptoms. Contact us today at (516) 224-4888 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.