Study Finds Women Much More Likely Than Men to Sustain Injury

Results from a new preliminary study conclude that female athletes face a 50% higher risk for sports-related concussion than their male counterparts. Study author James Noble, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, and director of the concussion and sports related head injury program, observed, “Sports-related concussion is a significant public health problem and research has typically focused on male athletes. Studies comparing male and female college athletes have often been limited in size and had incomplete follow-ups.” The findings are scheduled for presentation next month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

The research team examined 1,203 athletes at Columbia University who participated in sports including soccer, basketball, and football between 2000 and 2014. 822 were men, and 381 were women. 88 of the women, or 23%, suffered at least 1 concussion during their college term, as compared to 140 men, or 17%. In the gender-comparable sports of soccer and basketball, women were more likely to have sustained a concussion. For both sexes, the risk of concussion was 3 times greater among athletes who had experienced a prior concussion. Dr. Noble commented that the reason for the risk disparity between men and women remains unclear and that additional research on gender differences for concussion is needed.

Read a news story about the findings here.

A news release from Columbia University, with commentary from the authors, may be read here.

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