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High School Girls 56% More Likely Than Boys to Suffer Concussion

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

If you spend much time at all on the Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics blog, then you know the topic of concussions is one that we take very seriously. A concussion, which is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), can occur when a person sustains a sudden impact to the head, which jars the brain within the skull. Symptoms may include:

  • Headache, pressure in the head; seeming confused, dazed or stunned
  • Feeling dizzy, sluggish, foggy
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

(Parents, learn more here.)

Concussions: All Genders, Many Sports

While the public often associates concussions with football, these injuries are not just a “football problem.” A recent study of sports-related concussions in high school athletes says, “High school girls in the United States are 56 percent more likely than boys to suffer a concussion in sports that are played by both genders” (Mayo Clinic).

The most significant discrepancy between male and female instances of concussion occurred in the baseball/softball divide. Girls experienced four times the rates of concussions in softball when compared to boys’ baseball.

These sports had the highest rates of concussion overall:

  • Football (9.21 concussions per 10,000 participations)
  • Boys’ Lacrosse (6.65 concussions per 10,000 participations)
  • Girls’ Soccer (6.11 concussions per 10,000 participations)

Why Are Girls At Greater Risk?

There are several potential reasons why girls are suffering higher rates of concussions than their male counterparts…

  • High school-aged females may have less developed neck muscles than high school-aged boys, making them more susceptible to sustaining a concussion during certain events like heading a soccer ball. (However, it’s worth mentioning that heading a soccer ball may not be doing anybody’s brain a favor. A study published earlier this year found soccer players who head an average of 125 balls over the course of two weeks may be three times more vulnerable to concussion.)
  • Males may be under-reporting instances of concussion when compared to females, who are more likely to let coaches and doctors know about injuries.

Whether high school girls actually are at greater risk for sustaining concussions, or whether they’re more likely to report them, one fact remains unchanged: concussion prevention should be at the top of the priority list for players, coaches, trainers and parents. Learn more in these posts from our blog:

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

To learn more about concussions – or to see a Houston sports medicine doctor for an evaluation – schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546, or schedule your next appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.