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Concussion Symptoms May Differ With Gender

R. Dawn Comstock, PhD, a professor at Ohio State University and co-author of the the Journal of Athletic Training, a study about brain injury in girls and boys, stated that male and female athletes may experience different types of concussion symptoms and present differently to health care professionals and clinicians. In response athletic trainers and parents and coaches all need to be aware of higher rates of nontraditional symptoms and "when in doubt, sit them out."

What are the Statistics and Symptoms?

More than 95% of all athletes of both sexes reported having headaches during their traumatic brain injury treatment. This was by far the main primary symptom and secondary symptoms tended to differ quite a bit in both sexes.

hockey injury

More boys reported being confused or disoriented after the head injury. Many more boys also reported having amnesia as part of the concussion.

Girls were much more likely to be sensitive to noise or to feel drowsy.

A surprising finding from the study was the loss of consciousness, previously considered to be a necessary component of a concussion, was actually one of the least reported symptoms.

Comstock said, "It's kind of an old wives' tale now, but once it was thought that you didn't have a concussion unless you had a loss of consciousness. That used to be a widespread belief, but we know that's just not true. It's exactly the opposite." According to Comstock, because the loss of consciousness is no longer a sign of a concussion, "these gender differences become all the more important."

soccer injuryThe study does not answer why the differences exist between the sexes during traumatic brain injury recovery. Concussion researcher Gerard A Goia, chief of pediatric neuropsychology at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, said that one of the study's limitations is that the reporting system didn't explain about how the injuries occurred.

"The presence of increased amnesia and confusion, two early injury characteristics, in the males suggest that the injuries between males and females may have been different," he said.

Injuries between gender may be different, but are the injuries also related to the type of sport?

According to Comstock, future studies will address this theory. For example, preliminary data suggests, for instance, that football players tend to get hit on the front of the head, while girls who play soccer or basketball often suffer a blow to the side of the head.

If you or a loved one experiences a concussion or other severe brain injury due to the negligence or criminal behavior of another individual and you need legal help, contact one of our experienced brain injury lawyers .

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