Young Female Soccer Players Continue Playing Amidst Possible Concussion Symptoms

By Camille H, Parent Herald January 22, 12:37 pm

Young female soccer players continue to play the sport despite concussion symptoms especially when the sport starts to become more aggressive, a recent study finds.

A research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has found that middle-school female soccer players are at a much higher risk for mild traumatic brain injury while on the playing field. The study claims that the rise of concussion in youth sports on a culture of staying quiet when injured, if only to be able to get back in the game is what needs to be blamed. Head injuries need to be taken seriously especially since brains of teenagers are more vulnerable to impact.

"The risk for concussion is higher obviously in football, but in soccer it is still elevated because it's a contact sport," said lead author, Dr. Melissa Schiff, professor of epidemiology in the school of public health at the University of Washington. "Players run into each other so concussion rates are up there. And there's been less study that's been done on female soccer players." The researchers studied 351 girl soccer players ages 11 to 14, all playing in club teams in the Puget sound region of Washington between 2008 and 2012.

Findings showed that among these players, there were 59 concussions over 43,742 athletic exposure hours or time spent in practices or games. They also found that 56 percent of players or their families reporting concussion symptoms never sought treatment. However, the study wasn't able to provide explanations as to why this is the case.

"Our key points were that rate of concussions was a bit higher than what is reported in high school and collegiate soccer players, and exactly 58 percent of the players played even though they had symptoms of concussion despite public information that athletes should stop playing. And over half with concussions were never evaluated by a health care provider," the authors said.

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