Sport-related concussion symptoms have been researched most extensively in men and boys due to the fact that, historically, they participated in sports more than their female counterparts. However, the rising number of young female athletes means that the number of girls with sport-related concussions is also rising.
Historically, parents and coaches have noticed anecdotally that female high school athletes seem to react differently to concussions compared to male high school athletes, but now there is also scientific research to support this observation.
What is the difference?
A 2011 American study of concussion symptoms in high school student athletes found that boys were more likely to suffer cognitive symptoms compared to girls, namely amnesia and confusion. Girls; however, were more likely than boys to report drowsiness (a neurobehavioural symptom) and noise sensitivity (a somatic symptom).
What Concussion symptoms are the same for both genders?
Headaches are still the most common and most noticeable symptom for both boys and girls. There is also no difference between gender in the number of symptoms reported, severity of concussion, time it took symptoms to resolve, and time it took for the student athletes to return to their sport.
What will the real-world ramifications to this study be?
1. These findings may spread awareness about gender differences in response to concussion. 2. These results may also facilitate treatment goals as well as prompt further research into the topic.
Katherine Christ, honours Linguistics. Head of Research at Simone Friedman Speech-Language Services
Source: Frommer, L. J., Gurka, K. K., Cross, K. M., Ingersoll, C. M., Comstock, R. D., et. al. (2011). Sex differences in concussion symptoms of high school athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 46(1), 76-84.