Thursday, July 25, 2019

Concussions a Serious Issue in Women’s Soccer

Soccer game
Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash
Based in Oregon, Dr. Warren Roberts is an American Board of Neurological Surgery member who treats patients for neck and back pain issues. One area in which Dr. Warren Roberts has extensive knowledge is concussions, which are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries. 

Strongly associated with contact sports, concussions are also a serious issue in soccer, with a recent Wisconsin Public Radio report drawing attention to the fact that they are more common in women’s soccer than in men’s. 

The study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) professor focused on college and high school-age girls and found that the rate at which they suffer concussions can be up to three times as high as that experienced by their male counterparts. 

The reasons for this are still unknown, with one hypothesis being that physiological differences in ligaments or neck structures between the sexes may be the culprit. Alternatively, hormones may have a role, as well as the propensity of women to report concussions at a higher rate than men. 

Unfortunately, one proposed solution involving the use of headgear seems to be a nonstarter, as a UW-Madison study encompassing 3,000 subjects found no association between the use of headgear and a decrease in concussions. 

This issue has drawn international attention, with the serious collision between Kelley O’Hara of the United States and Lieke Martens of Holland in the World Cup final bringing home how much of a risk concussions present in competition. The Concussion Legacy Foundation has recently launched a $100,000 program to study the long-term effects of concussions in women’s soccer.