21 Aug Women Athletes Sustain More Brain Injuries Than Men
It’s a fact of science: women athletes sustain more brain injuries than men. Female sports scientists were the ones to get the ball rolling on research back in 2004, but both sports and scientific communities at large have been slow to react. With female participation in sports exploding in recent years, all – from mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers to coaches, trainers and media – need to be both aware and proactive about increased safety.
Brain Injuries: Lopsided Statistics
Over the years, few gender-inclusive, sports-related studies have been done on concussions. But by and large, they reveal similar statistics. In gender-comparable sports – ones in which both men and women participate, playing under comparable conditions, with the same rules and equipment – the following have been observed:
- women sustain more brain injuries than their male counterparts – at a 50% higher rate;
- women’s symptoms differ from those of men;
- women take longer to recover.
The apathy, underfunded research and slow progress have been disheartening.
“There’s a huge gap in the science of brain injury,” says Angela Colantonio, director of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. “There has been a lack of explicit consideration given to sex and gender. We’re just starting to scratch the surface.”
Science needs to progress in understanding the causes, increasing awareness and taking action to reverse the numbers.
Meanwhile, female athletes who sustain brain injuries often struggle with feelings of isolation, lack of support, and pressures to ‘be tough’ and continue performing.
On a positive note, U.S. Lacrosse has since taken a laudable early step by instituting standards for women’s helmets. Yet, in light of the data, it’s time for sports, media, science and the public to keep awake to the risks and be proactive to keep females athletes safer from a head injury.
Gluckstein Lawyers encourages all, men and women, boys and girls, to play safe and have fun.
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