Concussions in High School Sports: Which Sports are to Blame?
While American football dominates headlines in the concussion controversy, other sports are largely ignored. According to new research, that could be a problem.
Conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago, the study uncovered surprising results about which sports actually cause the most concussions. After comparing injury data across multiple sports, researchers found that female soccer players actually suffer the highest concussion rates among all high school athletes in the U.S.
To reach their findings, the researchers poured over data on over 40,000 injuries suffered in nine high school sports between 2005 and 2015. Among these injuries were 6,400 concussions, suffered in a variety of different sports, including soccer, football, wrestling, basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball. Ultimately, the study revealed that concussions were more common in girls' soccer than in any other sport. They also found higher concussion rates among girls in sports played by both girls and boys.
What Is the Cause?
Each year, about 300,000 United States teens suffer mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions while playing high school sports. While they can't say for sure, the researchers believe concussion rates may be higher in girls’ soccer due to a lack of protective gear, increased in-game contact and the strategy of "heading" the ball.
What You Can Do
While soccer concussions can never be totally eliminated, there are ways to reduce the frequency. This includes inflating balls appropriately, adding padding to goal posts and having qualified game officials on-site to ensure proper safety. Players should also use proper fundamentals for heading and refrain from using the technique until they are old enough. US Youth Soccer recommends that players avoid any sort of heading until the age of ten.
If you believe your child has suffered a concussion, seek medical attention. If the child receives a positive concussion diagnosis, he or she should avoid participating in any sport without approval from a doctor.