Female Athletes Need to Watch Out for Concussions, Too | STACK 4W

Female Athletes Need to Watch Out for Concussions, Too

August 1, 2013 | Dr. Bradley Weinberger

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

When people think of concussions, they often think of male football players, especially when they're talking about high school sports. But there is substantial evidence that young female athletes are more likely to get concussions than males, across many sports.

A 2011 study found that 24% of all injuries among female high school basketball players were concussions, versus 17% for males. The study found similar differences in soccer and softball/baseball (23% vs. 14%).[1] And a study of 20 sports found that the risk of concussion for females is 1.7 times greater overall than for males.[2]

The causes of concussion also vary between the genders. Contact with another player is most common among males, whereas for females it's primarily contact with the ground or with equipment, like a lacrosse stick.[3]

Severity also differs. Females report more symptoms after head injuries and during recovery and do worse on tests of brain function and reaction time.[4,5]  Another study estimated that females were cognitively impaired at 1.7 times the rate of males.[4]

Why female athletes are at higher risk for concussion is unclear. Differences in sex hormones, musculature and brain anatomy may all play a role. Or maybe females are more open and honest about reporting symptoms of a head injury. Whatever the reason, females should take the proper precautions to prevent head injuries, and any hit that produces concussion symptoms should be reported and treated right away.



[1] Lincoln, A. E., Caswell, S. V., Almquist, J. L., Dunn, R. E., Norris, J. B., & Hinton, R. Y. (2011). "Trends in concussion incidence in high school sports; a prospective 11-year study." The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(5), 958-963.

[2] Marar, M., McIlvain, N. M., Fields, S. K., & Comstock, R. D. (2012). "Epidemiology of concussions among United States high school athletes in 20 sports." The American Journal of Sports Medicine,

[3] Dick, R. (2009). "Is there a gender difference in concussion incidence and outcomes?" British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(Suppl 1), i46-i50.

[4] Broshek, D. K., Kaushik, T., Freeman, J. R., Erlanger, D., Webbe, F., & Barth, J. T. (2005). "Sex differences in outcome following sports-related concussion." Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group. 

[5] Colvin, A. C., Mullen, J., Lovell, M. R., West, R. V., Collins, M. W., & Groh, M. (2009). "The role of concussion history and gender in recovery from soccer-related concussion." American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Dr. Bradley Weinberger
- Dr. Bradley Weinberger is currently a fellow in primary care sports medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland. He previously completed his Residency...
Dr. Bradley Weinberger
- Dr. Bradley Weinberger is currently a fellow in primary care sports medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland. He previously completed his Residency...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

The lower back is the mediating force between upper and lower body. Like two foreign countries in negotiation, the aggressive behavior of one must be...

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Protect Yourself With Battle Sports Science Gear

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Axon Sports Concussion Baseline Testing Giveaway

Should Women Lacrosse Players Wear Helmets?

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

Can Soccer Lead to Brain Trauma?

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

STACK Concussion Awareness and Prevention Series

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Can a Mouthpiece Improve Performance?

How to Prevent Common Basketball Injuries

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Should Pitchers Ice After Throwing to Prevent Shoulder Injuries?

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Reducing Concussion Risk in Youth Athletes

Wear a Mouthguard to Prevent Concussions

Can Wii Fit Help With Concussion Rehab?

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Protect Your Brain With This Neck Workout

How a Scan May Detect Concussion-Related Brain Disease

Female Athletes Need to Watch Out for Concussions, Too

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Concussion FAQs

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Are Concussions Destroying Football?

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

Learn From Brian Roberts' Self-Inflicted Concussion

Play It Safe With the 5 Pillars of Heads Up Football

Study Finds Link Between Head Trauma and Brain Disease

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

How to Train With Shin Splints

2 Game-Changing Protective Football Gear Products

Four Simple Tips to Understand and Prevent Concussions

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Concussions Are an Epidemic in Women's Sports Too

Concussion Awareness Takes the Stage in Congress

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field