There is some new research out of Michigan State University that has now confimred what we have been saying and working for here at Atalanta’s Pride. The Study reveals female athletes take longer to recover from concussions, findings that call for physicians and athletic trainers to take sex and age into account when dealing with the injury.
The study was led by Tracey Covassin of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology. In their research they found females performed worse than males on visual memory tests and reported more symptoms postconcussion.
In an interesting finding high school athletes performed worse than college athletes on verbal and visual memory tests.
The study tested young athletes for balance and verbal and visual memory. Researchers tracked the athletes for two years. In that time 300 of the athletes received a concussion and were tested again. Results showed that high school athletes performed worse for their age than college-aged athletes.
Relevant to young women in sports the findings proved that female athletes with concussion had more symptoms and worse visual memory than male athletes with concussion. Younger athletes were confirmed to struggle the most.
“The findings suggest that because of anatomical differences that make them more vulnerable, female athletes, and younger athletes in particular, may need to be managed more cautiously after a concussion,” said Tracey Covassin, an Associate Professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University and the lead author of the report.
“Parents need to understand that if their daughter has a concussion, that they may potentially take longer to recover from that concussion than their son who is a football player,” she said.
Experts think that younger brains suffer greater damage from concussion because they haven’t fully developed and because we tend to treat them as miniature adults when it comes to sports and expectations.
According to Mark Hyman, author of “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession With Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids” (Beacon Press, 2009):
“The brain and head of a small child are disproportionately large for the rest of the body,” he said. “The result is that their heads are not as steady on their shoulders. When they take a big hit in a football game or are slammed with an elbow in a soccer game, their brains move inside their skulls. That’s when concussions occur.”