Concussions Highest in Girl’s Soccer
Researchers from Columbus Ohio’s Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have determined that among gender- comparable sports, girl’s soccer produces the highest rate of concussions. While boy’s football still causes the most concussions in the U.S. by sheer count – at 47% of all sports-related concussions from this study – girl’s soccer accounts for second in the number of concussions, at 8.2%.
Annually, about 300,000 concussions are caused by sports in the U.S. Among the 15 to 24 year-old age group, only automobile accidents cause more concussions.
The data was determined by sampling athletic trainers from high schools from around the country for the school years of 2008 through 2010. The research covered 20 different sports.
The data found that 1936 concussions occurred from a 7,780,064 possible risk events. This equates to an injury rate of 2.5 concussions per 10,000 possible events. The rate of injury was more than double for competition events, at 6.4 per 10,000.
Behind football and girl’s soccer, boys’ wrestling (5.8%) and girls’ basketball (5.5%) were the third and fourth highest rates by count.
The researchers also compared the proportion of concussions to total injuries among the different sports. Ice hockey had the highest proportion of concussions, at 22% of injuries. This was higher than all the other 19 sports combined, for which 13% of the injuries were concussions.
The researchers and trainers found that weak neck muscles were a likely culprit among many concussions. Because girl’s necks often tend to be less developed than boys, the rate of concussions per incident can be higher.
The preventive recommendation – besides avoiding sports that cause concussions – is to strengthen the neck muscles. Stronger neck muscles can better cushion a blow to the cranium.
Any type of bump or jolt to the head can cause a concussion. Concussions are typically caused when the brain is shaken within the cranium. As the head moves rapidly from the blow, the brain gets injured inside the skull.
Concussion signs include being dazed and stunned, being confused, moving awkwardly or clumsily, slow speech, loss of consciousness, forgetfulness, and any type of mood or behavioral changes.
Symptoms of a concussion include nausea, headache, vomiting, blurry vision, dizziness, noise or light sensitivity, feeling groggy or sluggish, feeling confused or feeling down. These can occur immediately, or hours and even days after a concussion.
According to concussion experts, a person receiving a head bump should be removed from play immediately and evaluated. The recommendation is: If there is any suspicion of a brain injury, err on the side of caution. And it is suggested that if avoiding a risky sport is not an option, safe headgear should be used in any sport with high concussion risk.
Written by Case Adams PhD
Marar M, McIlvain NM, Fields SK, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of concussions among United States high school athletes in 20 sports. Am J Sports Med. 2012 Apr;40(4):747-55.