New Research Finds That Women Are Vastly Underrepresented in Concussion Research Studies

Earlier research has found that girls and women are at higher risk of sustaining a sports-related concussion compared to males. And research has shown that girls and women may experience more severe symptoms and take longer to recover than men.

Given that sport-related concussions are more prevalent and possibly more serious for women, it is surprising that a new study led by Christopher D’Lauro, a cognitive neuroscientist at the U.S. Air Force Academy, finds that women are significantly underrepresented in concussion-related research studies.

The authors examined data on participants in a total of 171 distinct studies with human participants. They found that overall 80.1 percent of the participants were male. Moreover, 40.4 percent of these studies include no female participants at all. Only two of the 171 studies had only female participants.

The authors conclude that “female athletes are significantly underrepresented in the studies guiding clinical care for sport-related concussion for a broad array of sports and exercise medicine clinicians. We recommend intentional recruitment and funding of gender-diverse participants in concussion studies, suggest authorship teams reflect diverse perspectives, and encourage consensus statements note when cited data underrepresent non-male athletes.”

The full study, “Under-Representation of Female Athletes in Research Informing Influential Concussion Consensus and Position Statements: an Evidence Review and Synthesis,” was published on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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