Athletes' injuries have come to the forefront of parents attention in recent years, due to what looks like an increase in injuries that cause concussions.
Studies have shown the long term effects of such injuries. Some say concussions may have contributed to the suicides of several professional football players.
One of the main concerns is that these concussions are not always diagnosed immediately.
A child returns to her sport with an undiagnosed concussion, and what can happen is what's known as second impact syndrome. With this syndrome, any kind of bump or contact with another player can cause a seizure.
This seizure is as a result of the previous concussion, as opposed to the impact just received. Memory can also be impacted.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine reports on research this month that shows young female athletes are more negatively affected by concussions than their male counter parts.
The study found that:
"Female athletes performed worse than male athletes on visual memory and reported more symptoms after concussion. High school athletes performed worse than college athletes on verbal and visual memory. High school athletes were still impaired on verbal memory 7 days after concussion compared with collegiate athletes." (1)
The younger the athlete (those studied were age 14 and up) the worse she fared after a concussion. Researchers believe the reason females are more affected than males is due to anatomical differences and that even younger girls should be included in further studies.
The New York Times article featuring this study from AJSM stated that concussions affect about 1.6 million athletes every year in America. And they are increasingly seen in female athletes as they progress in sports and participation increases.
Parents are urged to seek care if their daughters are injured in an activity, and to remain watchful in the ensuing weeks for any sign of brain injury. Their daughters need to be instructed to inform their parents if they believe they've been hurt.
1. The American Journal of Sports Medicine.