Concussions In Sports Are Not Just Male Athletes’ Issue

Women's Sports Foundation representatives speak on concussions in female athletes (c) Women's Sports Foundation
Women’s Sports Foundation representatives speak on concussions in female athletes (c) Women’s Sports Foundation

We want to call your attention to a fact that has been overlooked by many in the sports world and in the media: Girls and women athletes suffer from concussions as often, and in some cases more often, than boys and men.

The Women’s Sports Foundation has done research on this and presented its finding at a special Capitol Hill briefing last week in recognition of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.  At a panel that included the Foundation’s President, Olympic soccer gold medalist Angela Hucles; two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Donna de Varona, five-time Olympic basketball legend Teresa Edwards, Olympic ice skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes, and concussion expert Dr. Robert D. Stevens gathered in D.C. to recognize the advancement of girls’ and women’s sports and to discuss how to reduce the numbers of concussions in sports.

Concussions is usually viewed as an issue affecting male athletes, but a significant number of female athletes also experience serious head injuries.  Sarah Hughes spoke about how she suffered from concussions while she was competing.  Research from the Women’s Sports Foundation shows that females participating in many high school sports now have a higher incidence rate of sport-related concussions than males in similar sports.  Check out these statistics:

  • Concussion rates in high school girls’ soccer is double that of boys’ soccer
  • Concussion rates in high school girls’ basketball are one-third higher
  • Concussion rates in high school girls’ softball are triple that of boys

In addition, the panel of athletes, Title IX and concussion experts discussed the significant achievements of pioneering women in sports that continue to inspire growing numbers of girls and women to play sports and lead physically active lives. Practical strategies to overcome hurdles that still prevent some girls and women to participate in sports was discussed as well.

We’re lucky that we have an organization like the Women’s Sports Foundation to make sure that issues important to women and girls in sports, like concussions, are made known to the public.