Girls' concussion symptoms rarely reported
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Girls' concussion symptoms rarely reported

As an increasing number of California girls are getting involved in contact sport, including soccer, lacrosse and even cheerleading. A rising percentage of young women are suffering concussions. Even though this type of brain injury may seem innocuous, it can have long-term consequences for athletes of both genders. Still, boys and girls may exhibit different signs and symptoms when they suffer a concussion, which can make diagnosis difficult for physicians.

While boys generally suffer more severe symptoms, such as headaches and intense disorientation, girls tend to report milder feelings of malaise, drowsiness and even noise sensitivity. Physicians need to be alerted to the fact that girls who exhibit these signs can still be considered victims of serious head trauma. Even more importantly, the front-line coaches need to be aware that women experience concussions differently than men. This is a challenge, considering that many sports coaches are male. One teenaged girl in Stanford explained that she felt dizzy and a little nauseated after running into a goal post, for example, but the symptoms did not prevent her from finishing practice or even making it through the next few days of school. She only told her parents about the incident after she had been in pain for several days.

Experts in the field say the number of concussions in lacrosse, cheerleading and other similar sports can be lowered by simply enforcing rules. Surprisingly, girls suffer higher rates of concussions when they are playing sports, regardless of the rules or level of play. Athletes, coaches, parents and physicians need to be aware of the symptoms of concussion, and an increased conversation about this injury needs to be prioritized at school and at home. Girls should be evaluated for potential concussion if there is even a slight suspicion that a brain injury has occurred.

Source:, "Girls' concussion symptoms may differ from boys, say Packard Children's Hospital Experts" No author given, Sep. 16, 2013

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