Young female athletes suffering from more concussions than their male counterparts

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
(Credit: WINK News)

A new study is sounding the alarm on concussions. The increase in teen girls reporting to the emergency room is dramatic. Beginning with Title-9 which leveled the sports playing field for girls, the number of females athletes participating in sports continues to grow. But when it comes to concussions, girls are far outpacing boys.

Teenage athlete Bria Brockington loves soccer, “I like how aggressive it is. And it gives me a lot of exercise of course. And I like the movement and like how we work together as a team.”

Despite fierceness on the field, Brockington and her teammates play it safe. Coach Clair Wright said, “the head injuries are really important, especially in the last several years, it’s been a push from all the way from the parents through the coaches, the referees to try to avoid those type of injuries.”

Still, concussions in female athletes are on the rise. The American Academy of Orthopedics reported last week that cases are up 200% among teen girls between the ages of 14 and 18. And that female athletes face concussion rates nearly twice as high as males in sex-comparable sports. That data is coming from US emergency room visits between 2000 and 2019. One-third of cases involve 15-year-old girls.

Lee Physician Group pediatrician Dr. Tom Schiller said, “we’re recognizing it more and we’re picking up more of the milder cases that used to get missed.”

Dr. Schiller finds concussions are common in his practice. He told WINK News they should not be taken lightly. “Any trauma to the head can cause a shift in the brain that then bumps against the inside of the skull and can create a bruise of the brain.”

The sports linked to a majority female athlete concussions are soccer, basketball and cheerleading.

While a collision causing unconsciousness is easy to spot, it is the smaller impacts that might be overlooked. Making it important to be aware of lingering symptoms. “Headache, some memory loss, fuzzy thinking, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, mood problems,” said Dr. Schiller.

Avoiding injury is the priority, but as more girls get physical, diagnosing and treating concussions becomes part of the game plan. “We have had players who’ve gotten concussions but they recover fast and they were able to play again,” said Bria Brockington.

Data is showing the percentage of girls experiencing concussions is higher than the growth rate of females sports. A possible reason given for the increased head hits; female athletes are playing more aggressively.

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