Girls more susceptible to concussions than boys, study suggests

Photo Credit: WCHM

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Concussions have become a major concern among athletes, including causing a big controversy in the NFL.

But new data suggests girls are getting more concussions than boys.

“We spend so much time on football, football, football…but certainly, especially for female soccer, it’s a big contributor to head injuries as well,” says Dr. Steven Cuff with Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine.

Cuff says he sees a lot of concussions, especially in girls.

“What we do know, is that in sports played by both males and females where they play by the same rules and same equipment that females for whatever reason seem to have a higher rate for concussion.”

Meaning they don’t know why, or even if, girls are actually getting more concussions.

Cuff says girls have worse symptoms that often hang around longer than boys. “I’ve heard people say that girls are more likely to report because they’re not as competitive and I say anybody that knows a female athlete knows that isn’t true.”

Katie Bemiller is used to playing soccer every day, but for the last month and a half, she’s been out because of a concussion.

“The ball hit my face. He kind of drop kicked it and then his foot hit my face after the ball,” says Bemiller.

At first, Bemiller was going to let it go, but then her teammates stepped in.

“Then when my teammates said are you OK? I said yeah I’m OK. I just got hurt. So I just keep playing. Then when I’m at home I’m like ahhhhh.”

Weeks later she began to have bad headaches. Since then she’s been resting and going through tests to see when she can get back on the field.

Cuff says there are several theories why girls may be more susceptible to concussions.

“Females may have smaller body masses, smaller head masses, weaker muscle that can then lead to increased angulation of the head,” said Dr. Cuff.

And Cuff says when it comes to prevention, there is no simple solution.

“You have to teach the skill at some point. If you don’t know how to do it properly with proper technique and you start doing that, at a later age and now you’re bigger and stronger, and there is more force, maybe that is actually going to cause more concussions later on.”

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