Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Girls' Sports and Concussions

The NY Times has an interesting article today on the prevalence of concussions in girls' high school sports. A recent study showed that in sports such as soccer and basketball, the rate and severity of concussions is significantly higher for girls than boys (neither sport comes close to football, though).

Compounding the effect of this disparity is the fact that concussions in high school girls often go undiagnosed, because school health providers or private doctors and specialists sometimes fail to recognize that a female athlete might have a concussion -- believing, according to the article, that girls might not play sports so aggressively that a concussion would be likely -- and also because the athletes themselves tend to downplay the seriousness of the symptoms in order to be allowed to continue playing.

Undiagnosed concussions is a problem that affects both male and female athletes, but clearly there needs to be some more education here -- for the athletes themselves about the potential long-term effects of undiagnosed concussions, and for health care providers to realize that all athletes are susceptible to serious head injuries such as concussions and, according to this study, girls moreso than boys.

1 comment:

EBuz said...

I also read that article with interest.

I hope that the new research and the media coverage it's receiving helps ensure that female athltes' concussions are not overlooked due to stereotypes about gender. But it is also important not to overcorrect this problem and impose undue limitations on female athletes in the interest of injury protection. Girls have historically been barred from many sports because society assumed girls were too fragile to play. Sports have many positive correlations with health, and I would hate to see research like this strengthen efforts to turn back the clock.