Concussions in women: What you should know

More women are participating in high-level contact sports – including lacrosse, soccer and hockey – than ever before. But with thes risk. According to health insurance data, female concussion rates shot up 118% between 2010 and 2015 compared to a 48% hike among male athletes.
Why head injuries among women are increasing
Historically, scientists thought male athletes experienced more concussions than women. Why? Because men were more likely to participate in contact sports like football and hockey. But those assumptions have been turned upside down in recent years. Now, there’s increasing awareness that women experience concussions at equal or greater rates than men – and that a woman’s experience during a concussion may be different, too. Here are three potential reasons why:
How to recognize a concussion
Parents, coaches and players are increasingly recognizing that a hard hit can have serious consequences. But not every head injury is a concussion.
When an athlete reports symptoms after a hit, it’s important for trainers and medical professionals to consider all possible reasons for the symptoms. You want to make sure you’re not assuming the athlete has a concussion, for example, when she’s suffering from a migraine or neck injury. Of course, you also want to make sure you’re not diagnosing only a concussion when an athlete has something much more serious, like a brain bleed.
A thorough baseline evaluation from a sports neurologist is an important benchmark to have when you’re trying to diagnose or manage a concussion. Athletes should get these evaluations annually, at the start of each season. They help trainers and medical staff determine if post-concussion brain changes are life altering or temporary.
To find a sports neurologist or sports medicine doctor at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com/athletes or call 313-972-4216.
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