Survey Suggests that Female Athletes Suffer Concussions at Higher Rates than Male Athletes

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In Ontario we hear a lot about concussions among young male athletes -- and rightly so. As Gluckstein Lawyers discussed in a recent post, the effects of head injuries in youth hockey players have been shown to last much longer than previously believed.

What we don't hear as much about are the alarming number of concussions suffered by girls and young women in sports. Canadians may be surprised to hear that, according to the Women's Sports Foundation, a new survey suggests that "girls and women suffer from concussions at higher rates than boys and men in similar sports -- often significantly higher.

One might expect that the highest rate of concussion would be among male hockey players, rugby players or football players, but the foundation's survey showed that the rate of reported concussions was highest among female hockey players.

Female softball players were also found to have reported concussions at two times the rate of male baseball players, and female soccer players and basketball players also suffered injuries at higher rates than their male counterparts.

The speculated reasons for this are various, including the possibility that females are not as reluctant as males to report concussions, and that females 'neck structures are not as strong as males'.

Where parents, doctors and coaches can all agree is that education is the key to protecting young athletes from head injury.

In a recent article in The Globe and Mail, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario had this to say about concussion education: "You have to change the culture. People are starved for information and they want to know more."

For more on educating students in Ontario about recognizing and managing concussions, please see our previous post, New Policy Requires Concussion Education in Ontario Schools.



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