CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Among H.S. Athletes, Girls Have Higher Concussion Rates Than Boys

iStock
iStock

Football may get all the attention, but it’s not the only dangerous sport on the field. Researchers say female high school athletes, especially soccer players, are more likely than boys in any sport to be diagnosed with concussions. They presented their research at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

As neuroscientists learn more about the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on professional athletes, the public has grown more concerned about the safety of youth sports. A blow to the head is not good for anyone, but it can be especially dangerous for kids’ and teens’ developing skulls and brains, causing more severe symptoms and a more difficult recovery.

Experts estimate that 300,000 teenage athletes experience concussions every year. To better understand that number, researchers pulled data from the High School Reporting Injury Online (RIO) survey for the years from 2005 to 2015. The RIO survey includes injury reports for nine sports: boys’ football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, and baseball; and girls’ soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball.

In that time, athletic trainers using the RIO system documented 40,843 injuries, of which 6399 were concussions. A breakdown of those incidents revealed something surprising: Girls were significantly more likely than boys to be diagnosed with concussions, even when playing the same sport. From 2010 to 2015, the concussion rate in girls’ soccer was higher than that for boys’ football. In the last year of data collection, female soccer players had the highest concussion rate of all athletes.

Lead author Wellington Hsu, an orthopedics expert at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said that not only were girls’ concussion rates higher than boys’ but that they were also rising faster.

There are a number of reasons this could be happening. The first is that fears about football-related TBI have prompted changes in the way the sport is played on high school fields. The second is that girls may just be getting diagnosed more than boys. “Girls may be more likely to report symptoms from concussion than boys for potential social reasons,” Hsu tells mental_floss.

Male and female bodies are also developing differently in particular places, at varying rates. Hsu says girls’ neck muscles may not be as supportive as boys of the same age, putting them at higher risk for injury.

More research is needed to understand these numbers and their causes, but Hsu said in a statement that his team’s work is a good start. “The new knowledge presented in this study can lead to policy and prevention measures to potentially halt these trends.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
iStock
iStock

Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
language
How Your Brain Turns Words Into Language
iStock
iStock

Language is one of the things that makes us human—so much so that our brains can’t function the same way without it. But when it comes to actually speaking, reading, and listening to words, some parts of our brain do more heavy lifting than others. Life Noggin broke down this process in a recent video.

Before speaking a word you just heard out loud, that information must first travel to your primary auditory cortex, then to a part of the brain called the Broca’s area, and finally to your motor cortex, which makes verbalization possible. The Wernicke’s area of the brain also plays an important role in listening to and processing language: If it’s damaged, the speaker’s ability to form coherent sentences suffers.

Knowing more than one language shapes the brain in totally different ways. According to one recent study, bilingual speakers can perceive and think about time differently, depending on which language they're using. Learning a second language as an adult can also improve mental function and slow brain decline later in life.

For the full scoop on how our brains use language, check out the video below.

[h/t Life Noggin]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios