*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
New findings published in the journal JAMA Network Open show that teenage girls playing soccer are at almost double the risk of concussion compared to teenage boys. Teenage girls are also less likely to be removed from play and take longer to recover from the injury than their male counterparts.
Working in collaboration with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University, Prof Willie Stewart, Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow, reviewed three years of injury data for a population of around 40,000 female high school soccer players in the Michigan High School Athletic Association and compared these to data for a similar number of male players.
The study confirmed findings from previous research that, overall, the risk of sports-related concussion among female soccer players was almost double—1.88 times higher—that of males. Importantly, the researchers also identified several sex-associated differences in sports concussion mechanism and management providing new insights into the injury in this age group.
Male players were most often injured colliding with another player and were 1.5 times more likely to be removed from play on the day of injury, compared with females, who were most often injured from contact with equipment, such as the ball or a goalpost. Girls also took on average two days longer to recover from injury and return to play.
These results highlight sex-associated differences among teenage athletes in the mechanism of injury and in concussion management and outcomes that raise the question of whether sports should consider sex-specific approaches to both participation and concussion management.