Ask most folk around our area about concussions, and you’ll probably hear talk about the NFL Concussion Settlement or maybe parents worried about whether or not their kids should play school football. However, what many may not realize is that in the realm of school sports, the danger of serious and life-long brain damage is very high for girls’ soccer.
Danger of Concussion in All Youth Sports
It’s a growing controversy — the balancing of the positives that kids get from playing school sports against the growing awareness of the risks associated with head injuries in youth sports. There are some that argue against any sporting activities for minors in view of the research findings connecting even minor injuries to the head and neck and longstanding permanent harm to the child. For more on this argument, check out the opinion piece in USA Today by Ken Reed, “Game over for concussion debate.”
Girls Soccer: Serious Danger of Brain Injury
Soccer does not get the focus that football does in much of this discussion. Nevertheless, girls’ soccer poses a very big danger for its players of permanent harm from head injuries incurred while playing the sport.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have published “Sarah’s Story” documenting how one female teenager’s life was changed after she suffered a concussion on the soccer field.
“For me, recovering from the concussion was harder than recovering from other injuries I’ve had. When I got a concussion, I expected to sit out some games, but I never realized that it would actually hurt to think.”
Luckily, Sarah had a full recovery from her head injuries — but it took several months for her to succeed in regaining her health.
Meanwhile, research has shown that others may not be so lucky. In female students playing soccer, there is a known tendency to shake off any feelings of harm after a head injury and continue playing the game. This can lead to the female soccer player being hit a second time during the same event, particularly if they are playing through while experiencing dizziness or problems concentrating.
That second blow can mean a more serious head injury and a higher risk of permanent damage. This even as a name, it’s called “second-impact syndrome.”
Study Shows Rising Risk of Girls Soccer Concussion Injury
Research reveals that only football trumps soccer in the game that sends the most students to the emergency room for treatment. And students playing soccer have female soccer players 40% more likely to have a concussion from playing soccer than male soccer players.
Which means that parents, students, coaches, and others monitoring these female athletes need to know what the symptoms of concussion are – and to get these girls off the field if they exhibit any symptoms of head injury.
There’s a duty to these kids here to keep them safe.