Sports, Girls Suffer Concussions At Much Higher Rate articles, articles,

The intensifying national discussions on the frequent occurrence of concussions in the NFL and the after effects of such injuries on the health of former players is gaining traction.

A film that speaks to this issue is Concussion. article, Columbia Pictures Photo Credit

Concussion is a 2015 American biographical sports drama film directed and written by Peter Landesman, based on the exposé “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, published in 2009 by GQ magazine. Set in 2002, the film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who fights against the National Football League trying to suppress his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration suffered by professional football players.

It also stars Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Albert Brooks.

The film premiered at AFI Fest on November 11, 2015 and was released by Columbia Pictures on December 25, 2015.

What many don’t realize is that when it comes to female sports, girls receive concussions at a much higher rate than boys.

As reported at by Jacob Bogage, “Female athletes, in particular soccer players, suffer concussions at a “significantly higher” rate than their male counterparts, according to a study released this month by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

In matched sports, girls were 12.1 percent more likely to sustain a concussion than boys, according to the report, which tracked concussions in a sport relative to total number of injuries from 2005 to 2015 using the High School Reporting Information Online injury surveillance system. In basketball, for example, concussions only accounted for 8.8 percent of boys’ injuries, but 25.6 percent of girls’ injuries.”

More light is shed on the subject at, “In high school sports played by both girls and boys, girls are about 50 percent more likely to get a concussion, according to a recent U.S. study.

The reasons may have to do with physical or equipment differences and how often girls and boys report concussions they experience, but the result indicates a need for more research and better prevention strategies, researchers say.”

This disturbing information raises the question, what are steps that girls can take to help prevent the injuries.

Here are some suggestions found at

  • Play by the rules. Teaching young athletes to respect the rules of their sport is part of good coaching.
  • Wear the appropriate equipment for your sport and wear it properly. Always close a chin strap if your sport requires a helmet; many concussions occur during practice.
  • Examine the playing field for uneven areas or holes.
  • Make sure that end posts are padded sufficiently.
  • Practice good sportsmanship. Teaching good sportsmanship is part of good coaching and good parenting minimizing unnecessary aggression on the field.
  • Learn and use proper technique for your sport. Some sports organizations have taken additional action to minimize the risk of concussion by limiting the number of contact practices allowed during the season.

Let’s turn our attention to a visiting writer that will develop this important issue further.

The #1 Injury in Girls Hockey

By Kim McCullough 

What is the most common injury in female hockey?[adToAppearHere]

It is NOT knee injuries.
It is NOT shoulder injuries.
It is NOT back injuries.

One injury happens more than any other and can have the most devastating effects of all.

Concussions are the most common injury in women’s hockey.

In fact, the NCAA sport with the highest concussion rate (by far) is women’s hockey.
It is not men’s hockey or men’s football.

At the university level, female hockey players suffer 1 concussion for every 1000 “exposures” to the game – with each practice and game counting as one exposure.

On a team of 20 players, that means 1 concussion every 50 exposures.

Female hockey players are TWO TIMES more likely to suffer a concussion than male hockey players and almost THREE TIMES more likely than football players.

Pretty amazing for a sport that doesn’t allow full body-checking, isn’t it?

Although statistics on younger players are harder to come by, I would guess that their concussion rate would be just as high (and maybe even higher) than with the women.

Girls are having more exposures than ever to the sport – they compete on school teams, club teams, travel teams, Olympic development teams and weekend tournament teams.

Girls’ hockey players are playing just as much as the boys – but are getting hurt twice as often.

Knee, shoulder and back injuries can be devastating to a young player who wants nothing more than to play the sport they love at the highest level possible, but they rarely have the same long-term effects as a concussion.


Here are two suggestions on how you can help to prevent concussions in girl’s hockey players.[adToAppearHere]

1) Girls have to be better prepared physically.

An overwhelming number of you believed that a lack of strength and conditioning was a big reason for the alarmingly high incidence of concussions in girls’ hockey.

The stronger a player is, the better she will be able to hold her ground when she is hit unexpectedly (which is how a large number of concussions happen in girls’ hockey).

By building better core stability, balance and overall strength, players are better able to control their bodies in space and withstand the force of impact.

Another important prevention strategy is making sure that players warm-up prior to hitting the ice. A proper 10 minute off-ice warm-up will ensure that a player’s mind and muscles are ready for the intensity of the on-ice session – and will go a long way towards preventing all injuries (not just concussions).

2) Girls need to be taught how to take a hit.

In every girls’ or women’s game I have ever watched or played, there is always at least one instance where I think, “Good thing we don’t have full body-checking because that player would have been run-over”.

The female game may not have full body-checking, but girls are going to get hit.[adToAppearHere]

We are doing our players a great disservice by not teaching them how they can protect themselves if (and when) they do get hit. If more coaches, teams and associations start showing girls how to take a hit properly, it will go a long way towards preventing concussions, as well as a whole slew of other injuries.

Bottom Line:

It is our responsibility to make sure that our players are prepared, both physically and mentally, each and every time they step out on the ice.

Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS is an Athletic Development Specialist and founder of Total Female Hockey. In addition to training and coaching girls at all levels of hockey, from novice to the National team, Kim has also played at the highest level of women’s hockey in the world for the last decade. Kim’s female player development website ([]) gives the coaches and parents of aspiring young player’s access to the most up-to-date programs, articles and advice on how to help their players take their game to the next level. To learn more about female-specific player development, get your Free Report: The #1 Mistake Female Players Make in the Off-Season at: []

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