Why Are Women College Athletes More Prone to Concussions Than Their Male Peers?

Sport-related concussions are often recognized as a health issue in football. However, athletes in nearly all sports are susceptible to these injuries, and research shows that young female athletes have nearly double the risk of concussion compared to their male counterparts in common sports including basketball and soccer. The sports at greatest risk are those that include the most physical contact, including soccer, basketball, cheerleading and ice hockey. However, it’s important to note that a concussion can happen in nearly any sport.

Athletes, parents, coaches and healthcare professionals need to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of these injuries. The most common symptoms include headache, nausea, trouble thinking normally, memory problems, fatigue, impaired balance, dizziness, vision problems and changes in sleep patterns. Research suggests that women report more of these symptoms than men.

Why is concussion risk greater for female athletes? Matthew Hoch, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Sports Medicine Research Institute, explains that “the reasons for this are not clear. Possible factors leading to higher concussion rates in women/girls include head and neck strength, hormonal differences, and a difference in the reporting habits of a concussion between boys and girls.”

Filed Under: Research/Study


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