Heads Up for Girl Soccer Players

Concussions among girl soccer players did not receive much medical attention

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Football isn't the only sport where concussions might frequently occur. Soccer players can also experience concussions.

A recent study found the rate of concussions to be higher among middle school girl soccer players than among older players.

In addition, many of the young girls experiencing concussions from soccer continued to play with injury symptoms.

Further, less than half of the girls sought medical attention for their concussions.

"Take a break from sports after a concussion."

This study, led by John W. O'Kane, MD, of the University of Washington Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, investigated concussions among female middle school soccer players.

The researchers tracked four soccer clubs from March 2008 through May 2012, involving 351 girls aged 11 to 14.

These researchers gathered data on the number of concussions that occurred, how frequently they occurred, how severe they were and how the player was treated.

During 43,742 hours of athletic play, 59 concussions occurred among the girls, resulting in a rate of 1.2 concussions per 1,000 hours.

Almost a third of the concussions (30 percent) occurred when the girls headed the ball.

On average, the symptoms lasted about nine days, and about half the girls saw their symptoms resolve in four days or less.

The researchers determined that concussions with certain symptoms took longer to subside than the other concussions.

For example, girls who experienced light sensitivity typically took about 16 days to recover from their symptoms, compared to three days for concussions without light sensitivity.

Those who had emotional instability (rapidly changing emotions) from their concussion took an average 15 days to recover, compared to 3.5 days among those without that symptom.

Those who had sensitivity to noise with their concussion took about 12 days to recover, compared to the three days required without noise sensitivity.

Those with memory loss took about nine days to recover, compared to four days if they did not have memory loss.

Having nausea from a concussion also required about nine days for recovery, compared to three days without nausea.

Finally, players who experienced difficulty concentrating from their concussion needed about seven days to recover, compared to two days if they did not have concentration problems.

The authors of this study found, however, that more than half the players (59 percent) continued to play soccer with their symptoms.

Just under half (44 percent) sought medical attention for their concussions.

The researchers concluded that concussion rates were higher in younger female soccer players compared to the rates reported in older players.

A significant number of these concussions were caused by heading the ball.

The players also seemed less aware of the need to stop playing while they had symptoms and to seek medical attention for their injury, the authors wrote.

This study was published January 20 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The research was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
January 20, 2014
Last Updated:
January 21, 2014