More research funds are going toward sports-related concussion studies and concussion risks for youth athletes. We often think about football and other contact sports when we consider traumatic brain injury (TBI) risks, yet many different sports and recreational activities can put young athletes at serious risk of sustaining a concussion.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University found that concussions are more common than we previously thought among female soccer players. Nearly 30% of all soccer injuries are concussions. To put that number in perspective, about 24% of all football injuries are concussions. To put that another way, more girls suffer sports-related concussions playing soccer in high school than do boys who play football.
Girls Soccer Players Suffer Head Injuries More Often Than Boys Soccer Players
Male youth athletes frequently are the focus of sports-related concussion studies given that football—the contact sport with the most prominence when it comes to head injury risks—is populated largely by males. However, female athletes also are at serious risk of sports-related concussions, especially female youth soccer players. When we look at both men’s and women’s soccer, youth women’s teams “tend to have more concussions than boy,” according to the authors of the study.
Soccer is actually among the most dangerous sports for young female athletes when it comes to head injuries, according to the study. The researchers explored concussions risks and rates in numerous high school sports, including but not limited to soccer, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, and volleyball. In those sports, female soccer players tended to have the highest number of concussions.
Concussions are Becoming More Common in Youth Sports
One of the most worrying aspects of the study is that the researchers concluded concussion rates are rising in youth sports generally, despite the attention coaches and schools are paying to concussion and TBI protocols. Why are more girls who play soccer suffering concussions?
Some commentators believe there is a gender gap in athletic training. In general, youth athletes do not have as much experience as college-level or professional players. Yet sometimes parents question whether girls soccer players are receiving the same training as boys soccer players surrounding proper ways to fall on the field, as well as how to head a soccer ball. Even with the best training, however, sports-related concussions can still occur.
Schools do have concussion protocols in place, but it is always important to think about improvement — better ways to train players to avoid and to deal with injury, and better ways of emphasizing the importance of self-reporting symptoms of a concussion. Many youth athletes do not tell coaches or parents when they have signs of a concussion, which can make recovery much more difficult.
Seek Advice from a Poway Brain Injury Lawyer
Youth concussions often occur because of another party’s negligence. If your child suffered a TBI while playing high school sports, you should learn more about your legal options. An experienced Poway brain injury attorney can speak with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we assist injury victims throughout San Diego County.
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(image courtesy of Jeffrey F Lin)