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Middle school girls who play soccer suffer more concussions than older athletes and they frequently continue to compete even after they suffer concussions. This is conclusion of a research team lead by Dr. John O'Kane (University of Washington Sports Medicine Clinic, Seattle, WA) that examined the incidence of concussions in a group of 351 girl soccer players (11-14 years old) in two seasons.
The research team documented 59 concussions in the soccer players; eight players suffered two concussions. Most of the concussions (86.4%) occurred during a game and just over half of the concussions (54.3%) were caused when one player made contact with another player. Heading the ball, goaltending, chasing a loose ball and getting a ball from an opponent were the most common activities that resulted in a concussion.
The symptoms of a concussion lasted an average of 9.4 days, but some players reported that they still had symptoms lasting more than 21 days. After suffering a concussion, players most often said that they had a headache (89.3%), felt dizzy (67.8%), and had trouble concentrating (42.4%). Rarely (only 13.6%) did the head injury cause a player to lose consciousness.
Of particular concern is the high number (58.6%) of players who continued to play while they still had the symptoms of a concussion. The risk of another concussion and one with more serious effects is greatly increased if a player continues to play before recovering.
Play safe! Know the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
Copyright © 1996-2014, Eric H. Chudler, University of Washington