Although female athletes suffer 50 percent more head injuries than men in the sports in which they both participate, and research shows that 35 percent of females who experience a concussion still have symptoms six months after the injury, the International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport (ICCCS) has virtually ignored female athletes.  

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According to Tracey Covassin, professor of kinesiology at Michigan State and a certified athletic trainer, in “sports that both boys and girls play, by the same rules, using the same equipment, on the same fields, like soccer and basketball, girls have higher concussion rates than boys.”  Brian Hainline, the Chief Medical officer of the NCAA, has said, “We need to spread the word: Yes, female athletes also suffer with concussion, and they may be uniquely predisposed to this neurological event.”  Among the factors that may contribute to the increased incidence of head injury in female athlete, and which must be researched in depth, are the biomechanics of women’s (especially young girls’) neck strength to withstand whiplash acceleration, and the influence of hormonal changes.  It has been found that prior to puberty, girls and boys suffer similar rates of head injury and experience similar symptoms.  To understand these issues, all brain injury research should include analysis of such sex-based variables.

Nevertheless, the ICCCS ignored key differences in how women and men experience brain injuries. Particularly that women and men suffer different symptoms, and women take longer to recover.  The closing statement from their October 2016 meeting included the same two sentences regarding head injury in women that it had published in its two previous reports. One researcher who attended the meeting stated that, “The topics we focus on, we go into pretty thoroughly. Other material, we pretty much don’t touch at all. Which is how stuff slides from one year to the next, not only unchanged but not updated.

Link to story: Why does it seem like nobody cares about female concussions?

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