Women 50% More Likely to Suffer Concussion in Sports Than Men

Jim Liebelt

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study. Finds.

Brain injuries to athletes — including chronic concussions and their long-term impact on cognitive abilities – is a hot topic in professional and college sports these days. It might seem obvious that male athletes, who compete fiercely in a number of brutal contact sports, would also suffer the worst head injuries.

But a new study from researchers at Columbia University that compared concussion rates suffered by men and women in the school’s various sports programs found that concussion rates were over 50% higher among women — 23%, compared to just 14% for men. The study focused on athletes not just in comparable sports, like soccer and basketball, but also in football, where men clearly predominate.

“It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussions than men,” Dr. John Noble, who headed the University research team, said in an American Academy of Neurology release. “The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion.”

Studies of the phenomenon are more than a decade old. In 2003, researchers examined data on concussion gender differences using the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Injury Surveillance System for the 1997-2000 academic years and found that 9.5% of women compared to 6.2% of men sustained concussions in a variety of sports, including soccer, lacrosse, basketball, softball, baseball, and gymnastics.

And yet despite the passage of time, researchers seem no closer to explaining the phenomenon, which could be due to anatomical disparities (a woman’s head mass is smaller and neck muscles weaker) or cultural differences (men are more likely to tough it out).

The results of this latest study were presented at the AAN’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston.

Source: Study Finds