If your little darling girl plays youth soccer you may want a heads up on this.
A recent study (yes, another one) found that girls from ages 11 – 14 are more likely to suffer from concussions than high school and / or college girl soccer players. And, many will continue to play even though they have concussion symptoms.
Studies have confirmed that high school soccer players suffer around 50,000 concussions each year – and girl soccer is the leading cause of injuries for girls.
This new study, however, focuses on the younger girls. From researchers at the University of Washington’s Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Seattle (published in the Journal of American Medicine) the results highlighted that 13% of young female soccer players suffer a concussion each season. Of those, it is reported that half keep playing even though they are experiencing concussion symptoms (e.g. confusion, drowsiness, feeling sluggish, dizziness, headache, etc.).
They reported on 351 girls ages 11 – 14 from about three dozen soccer teams in Puget Sound, Washington. Researchers followed each girl as she played over the course of four years; researchers contacted the parents to ask about any hits to the head the girls may have suffered during games or practices and if those hits resulted in symptoms that may be consistent with a concussion.
Researchers recorded 59 concussions, including eight repeat concussions. The girls’ symptoms lasted on average nine days. Less than half of concussed girls were seen by their doctor – BUT more than 58 percent continued to play soccer despite their apparent symptoms.
This is of great concern as there are long-term consequences patients can face from a concussion. An untreated brain injury can cause memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and slower reaction times.
These effects become magnified when an athlete suffers a second concussion before fully recovering from the first.
When in Doubt, Sit it Out!