Of girls and concussions

Girls’ high school soccer second only to boys’ football in number of concussions

More girls than ever are playing high-school sports, but—excluding football—they’re receiving concussions at a higher rate than their male peers.

Nationally, an all-time high of 42 percent of high-school athletes are girls, and of high-school sports, girls’ soccer is second only to boys’ football in number of concussions during games, according to SFGate.com. Overall, football accounts for 47 percent of all high-school-sports concussions, while girls’ soccer is next with more than 8 percent of concussions.

In team sports that both boys and girls play—such as basketball, soccer and baseball/softball—girls are nearly twice as likely to get concussions, though it’s unclear why. Complicating the issue, boys and girls commonly report different concussion symptoms—boys are more likely to report amnesia and confusion/disorientation, while girls are more likely to report drowsiness and sensitivity to noise.

“A big problem here is that when a girl reports milder symptoms to a male coach—and a lot of coaches in girls’ sports are male—her concussion could be missed if the coach isn’t alert to the differences in how boys and girls report symptoms,” said Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford.