New Study Finds Soccer Can Be Just As Dangerous For Girls As Football Is For Boys

A new study into kids’ sports has found a scary new stat: According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, soccer can be just as dangerous for girls as football is for boys.  The study found that girl’s soccer had the second highest concussion rate with 8.19 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures, behind boys football which saw 10.4 concussions. Boys soccer players had a much lower rate of concussions. “Heading” the ball is responsible for about 25 percent of concussions among girls, while nearly 50 percent were due to collisions among players and hitting their heads on the turf.

Overall, the data showed that the three sports with the highest concussion rates were:

  1. Boys’ football, with 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures.
  2. Girls’ soccer, with 8.19 per 10,000 athlete exposures.
  3. Boys’ ice hockey, with 7.69 per 10,000 athlete exposures.

When examining concussion incidence specifically in practice, the highest rates were observed in boys’ football, with a rate of 5.01 per 10,000; followed by cheerleading, with a rate of 3.6 per 10,000; and boys’ wrestling, with a rate of 3.12 per 10,000.  The data showed that, between the 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 school years, football concussion rates during competitions alone increased, but practice-related concussion rates dropped.

The full results are published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

This is the Ontario government’s video to promote concussion awareness:

Photo Credit: Government of Ontario via YouTube screenshot


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Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan