University of Washington Study Finds Younger Players More Likely To Suffer Concussion

There's been a lot of research on the effects of concussion in recent years, but the focus has largely been on high school and professional athletes. In most of those instances, boys are the target of inquiry. A new study by researchers at the University of Washington looks at younger players and it involves girls. Dr. John O'Kane,a UW associate professor and lead author of the study, says the rate of concussion they saw in middle school-aged girls is higher than that of older athletes. Girls between the ages of 11 and 14 saw a 13 percent concussion rate each season. There was an average of 1.2 concussions per 1,000 athletic hours. In May of 2009, the Governor signed the Lystedt Law. The toughest in the nation at the time, it requires concussion education for players under age 18 and their parents. It also requires players with concussion symptoms to get medical clearance before returning to play. "This group does comply with the Lystedt Law," says Dr. O'Kane, "So, the parents and the kids and the coaches do annually go through and read concussion information sheets. One of the things we took away from this study is that the education needs to be a little bit more active than that." What they found after studying 351 players in the Puget Sound region is that girls often don't report symptoms of concussion even after having that discussion with their coach and their parents. In part, O'Kane credits the sports culture of "toughing it out." More than that, though, he says soccer players are physically unable to play with an injured ankle or knee, but they can keep going if they're feeling a little dizzy or nauseous. To read the original and complete article, please click the following link: