The NFL has been dealing with problems of late with concussions, as scientific research continues to shed light on just how prevalent and dangerous they are, especially with one group of athletes – girls – who are particularly vulnerable.
According to a new study, teenage girls and their parents should be concerned. The findings, released in a USA Today article, say girls have significantly higher concussion rates than boys, especially in soccer.
The reasons are still unclear, although one theory suggests that girls’ neck muscles are less developed than their male peers, thus making them more vulnerable to concussion.
Others say there simply just isn’t enough evidence to say why differences may exist.
Swedish American Doctor Jim Cole says it’s important to remember that you don’t have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion, and student athletes need to be aware of what a concussion feels like.
“You don’t target the head. You don’t use the head as a weapon. And, if something happens to you, if you get a blow to the head and feel even the slightest bit woozy, you have to report that and they have to take you out of the game, for the duration of the game, and be seen by a professional – hopefully an athletic trainer – who, if we’re really lucky – may have done some baseline cognitive testing,” Dr. Cole said.
The long-term effects of un-reported concussion can include, but are not limited to, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), as well as an increase in mental illness, substance abuse, and overall behavioral issues.
Doctors say parents must balance their teen’s desire to play with their overall safety.