"You play like a girl." That schoolyard taunt and others like it have fueled the popular perception that women's sports are not as aggressive or as dangerous as their male counterparts. Unfortunately, this attitude influences the amount of media attention given to injury rates among female athletes.
Female athletes need to be acknowledged for the serious injuries they risk—just as much as males. The country is on high alert on the subject of concussions, especially in football, yet some statistics are often overlooked. The American Journal of Sports Medicine recently reported that the concussion rate among female soccer players is the second largest in all of youth sports. ESPN.com has reported research showing that females are more at risk for concussions than males. Yet because the audience for women's sporting events is smaller than for males, our country and sports media do not express the degree of concern that these facts should inspire.
Thankfully, rehabilitation programs exist to help injured girls, not just to get back in the game but to return to a normal feeling in their lives.
The Rock Center on MSNBC has done a number of segments on contact sports, including one on girls sidelined by soccer concussions, which revealed the frightening fact that females are reporting nearly twice as many concussions as males. The segment also showcased a technology that works to help concussion victims work toward regaining normal function in all areas of their lives. The Dynavision D2 incorporates a technology that transcends all areas of neuro-cognitive and visual reaction training. It's primary use is for elite athlete training, but it can also help victims of strokes and concussions—for baseline and return-to-play testing.
The D2 is now a prominent tool in concussion awareness programs for soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball and football. It is one technology working to help concussion victims. Hopefully there will be more in time. But since the two most dangerous concussion situations involve men in football and women in soccer, there needs to be equal awareness of both perspectives.