A new study of concussions in high school athletes shows that concussions now account for a higher proportion of injuries in girls soccer than in boys football.  The study Sport- and Gender-specific Trends in the Epidemiology of Concussions Suffered by High School Athletes” determined that approximately 27 percent of all injuries suffered by girl soccer players are traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Male football players indicated only a 24 percent correlation between brain injuries and overall injuries.

That statistic will surprise many who have long considered football players to be most at risk for head injuries with its tackles and head on collisions.  It is estimated that 300,000 adolescents suffer concussions each year while participating in organized sports.

The study also shows that concussions are on the rise across all sports, although this is likely in part due to increased awareness as a result of the introduction of Traumatic Brain Injury laws.  Since 2009, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation targeted at reducing the number of concussions in youth sports.  The study compares concussion rates as a percentage of all injuries between 2005-2010 (pre-TBI legislation) and 2010-2015 (post-TBI legislation). Researchers saw a dramatic increase (with some rates doubling) in the incidence of concussions post-TBI law enactment, likely due to health care practitioners, coaches, athletes, and parents becoming increasingly aware of, looking for, and reporting concussions.


Source:  Sport- and Gender-specific Trends in the Epidemiology of Concussions Suffered by High School Athletes

This is the first study to conclude that girls soccer players, if injured, are more likely to suffer a concussion than an injured player on the football team. The concussion rate for girls soccer is also increasing rapidly.  It is 3 times higher than boys soccer and nearly equal to boys football.  These concussion statistics combined with the higher rate of knee and ACL injuries in girls soccer will likely turn a few heads and perhaps change what most people think of as potentially dangerous sports.

The takeaway from this study seems to be that additional studies are needed that delve into the sport or gender specific differences in concussion occurrence.