With schools starting back for the year, many young athletes are returning to sports—and with that comes the possibility of injuries, including concussions.
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 concussioncompared to their male counterparts in common sports including basketball and soccer.
Why is concussion risk greater for female athletes? Right now, 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.
Which sports are at the greatest risk for concussion in female athletes? 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.
What are the symptoms of a concussion? 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.
While many of these symptoms begin right after an injury, some may take days or weeks to manifest.