It might seem obvious that male athletes, who compete fiercely in a number of brutal contact sports, would also suffer the worst head injuries. But a growing number of studies show substantially higher rates of concussion among female athletes – a finding that still baffles researchers who wonder whether the field of sports medicine has succumbed to age-old gender biases.
The latest study, conducted by a team of research specialists in neurology at Columbia University, compared concussion rates suffered by men and women in the school’s various sports programs between 2000 and 2014. The preliminary study focused on athletes not just in comparable sports, like soccer and basketball, but also in football, where men clearly predominate. Concussion rates were over 50% higher among women — 23%, compared to just 14% for men. “It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussions than men,” Dr. John Noble, who headed the University research team, said in an American Academy of Neurology release. “The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion.”
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