Why does it take longer for girls to get concussion treatment?

We are still in the thick of the fall sports season here in Central Texas with football and soccer, and that means it’s prime time for concussions, too.

While boys and girls who play sports are equally at risk for suffering a concussion, a new study recently published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that their recovery times look quite different.

The research suggests that one reason girls may have a longer road to recovery is that it takes them longer after an injury to get medical treatment.

The study evaluated medical records of nearly 200 student athletes diagnosed with concussions from ages 7 to 18 years. Here’s what they found:

             The average number of days it took boys to see a specialist following a concussion was nine days compared to 15 days for girls.

             Girls took 68 days to achieve a full neurocognitive recovery, versus a 40-day recovery period for boys.

             Girls also logged an average of 119 days before returning to play after concussion, while boys only sat out for 45 days.

The study also reported that there are typically far less sports trainers on the sidelines at girls’ games versus boys’, as their sporting events are often deemed only a “moderate risk.”

Child Neurology Consultants’ pediatric neurologist Dr. Kate Labiner recently commented on these findings for KXAN.

Said Dr. Labiner, “The part of the study I found very interesting, talking about the availability of trainers at every single sport. Football has become a highlighted sport and the cornerstone of what we worry about from a sport standpoint, yet we don’t think about what is termed the ‘poor-funded sports’ and that tends to be unfortunately women’s athletics.”

She pointed out that women’s soccer has one of the highest concussion rates among all sports and genders.

Dr. Labiner advises all parents to know how to recognize the signs of a concussion and to seek medical help immediately following a significant blow to the head. The earlier the diagnosis of a concussion, the better the treatment and outcome for recovery.

For questions or concerns about a traumatic brain injury in your child, teenager, or young adult, please contact us for an appointment. 

The full story featuring Dr. Labiner on KXAN is available here.

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