Concussions Affect Women More Than Men

A recent article in The Globe and Mail (a newspaper out of Toronto, Canada) reports on new research  that suggest that:

  1. Women are more likely than men to suffer a sports-related concussion;
  2. Women have more severe symptoms in the days immediately following the concussion;
  3. Women may experience symptoms for a longer period of time than men, and may need to sit out of sports for months or even years.

The final point is still under investigation by Dave Ellemberg and other scientists at the University of Montreal.

“The current clinical assessment protocols and return to play guidelines, which are almost entirely based on research with male athletes, are not only inappropriate for women but likely place them at a greater risk of suffering multiple concussions and experiencing long-term consequences of their injuries,” Ellemberg says.

Although no one really knows why women are more susceptible to concussion, experts believe it may be due to physiology (women have weaker necks), chemistry (subtle differences in neurochemicals), or behavioral/societal differences (variations in the way men and women train or are coached).

There are risks associated with all sports and all kinds of physical activity, Covassin says [Tracey Covassin, a Canadian researcher at Michigan State University, and no one wants girls or women to stop playing hockey, soccer or other sports. She suspects that female athletes are getting more concussions because they are stronger, faster and more aggressive than in the past. Women are also more likely to be honest about their symptoms, she says, since unlike their male counterparts, they don’t risk losing lucrative professional contracts if they are injured.

The lesson for young female athletes and their parents is primarily awareness. Be aware of the symptoms of concussion…of the possibility of long-term effects…of the necessity to remain on the sidelines until all symptoms are gone. Concussions deserve the same respect we all give to a broken bone. Concussions are a form of brain trauma, mild but serious nonetheless.

To read the full article in The Globe and Mail, click here:  Females More Susceptible to Concussion, Studies Suggest

For more information about brain injury, visit our website at If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

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