orthopedics, sports medicine

Female athletes are found more at risk for concussions

Head’s up, if you’re a female athlete.

A new study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that female athletes, in particular soccer players, suffer concussions at a “significantly higher” rate than their male counterparts.

In the study, reported by The Washington Post, girls were 12.1 percent more likely to suffer a concussion than boys. The study, using a high school injury reporting online system, tracked concussions in sports from 2005 to 2015 compared with the total number of injuries.

In basketball, for example, concussions accounted for only 8.8 percent of boys’ injuries, but 25.6 percent of girls’ injuries.

“The neck muscles of girls just aren’t as developed as boys are,” said Dr. Wellington Hsu, one of the study’s authors and a professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern University. “So if girls experience an impact, it makes sense they might be affected by it more than boys if they don’t have the muscles to cushion that impact.”

At Signature Medical Group, our sports medicine and orthopedic specialists care for all athletes, regardless of gender and age. We not only treat concussions, we diagnose and treat pulled muscles, broken bones and any pain suffered from wear and tear on your body.

You can often see us the same day you make an appointment. And we offer convenient hours at night and on weekends.

The AAOS study showed a striking gender-based difference in the incidents of concussion. Football, a sport most typically associated with brain injury, was fourth on the list of concussion as a percentage of total injuries, behind girls’ soccer, girls’ volleyball and girls’ basketball.

“We were surprised at how the incidence of concussions particularly in girls over the past five years has increased,” Dr. Hsu said. “And we found that sports that weren’t typically linked to concussion are actually quite risky.”

The study’s authors attribute that increased risk to a lack of protective equipment available for female athletes and an increased emphasis on physical play. In soccer, the authors cite a potential increase in headers, and wrote, “It remains unclear why boys soccer players do not appear to have the same risk as girls.”

At Signature Medical Group, our orthopedic specialists take concussions and sports-related injuries seriously. We take pride in treating athletes of all ages. Make an appointment today and start getting that special care you need.