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Risk of Sports-Related Concussions Not Limited to Football Players

Alexandra Sifferlin with Time Magazine reports that concussions may influence girls differently than boys (see “How A Girl’s Brain Changes After a Traumatic Brain Injury“). The findings come from the journal PLOS ONE, which describes itself as an international, peer-reviewed, open-access publication that publishes the results of primary research in any scientific discipline.

According to PLOS ONE (as Sifferlin writes): More than 9,000 surveyed girls of grade school age (grades 7 through 10) with brain injuries “were more likely to report having contemplated suicide, experienced psychological distress, been the target of bullying and having smoked cigarettes.”

Researchers apparently had difficulty drawing any firm conclusions out of the data, however. According to Sifferlin, researchers were reduced to mere speculation as to why girls seemed to be more likely to report suffering such issues after concussions or similar brain injuries.

Perhaps it comes down to why girls are more likely to report these issues. “We are really limited to self-reporting,” said one doctor, “and women are more honest about their symptoms than boys.” Whether or not that’s true, the results of this study do show (and serve as a reminder) that the risk of sports-related concussions isn’t limited to boys who play football.

It certainly affects girls, too, especially those in soccer, basketball, and cheerleading.