Girls Suffer Worse Concussions, Study Suggests
Researchers found they had more severe symptoms, longer recovery times than boys
By Kathleen Doheny
THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Girls who suffer a concussion may have more severe symptoms that last longer compared to boys, according to new research that builds on other studies finding gender differences.
"There have been several studies suggesting there are differences between boys and girls as far as [concussion] symptom reporting and the duration of symptoms," said Dr. Shayne Fehr, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
In his new study, Fehr also found those differences. He tracked 549 patients, including 235 girls, who sought treatment at a pediatric concussion clinic.
Compared to the boys, the girls reported more severe symptoms and took nearly 22 more days to recover, said Fehr, also an assistant professor of pediatric orthopedics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
He was due to present the findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, held in New Orleans. Studies presented at medical meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
A concussion is any brain injury that disturbs normal functioning. Concussions are typically caused by a jolt or blow to the head, often in collision sports such as hockey or football, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
In recent years, experts have advised coaches, players and parents that athletes should not return to play until they are seen by a doctor if a concussion is suspected.
In the new study, Fehr tracked patients aged 10 to 18, all treated between early 2010 and mid-2012. Each patient reported on their symptoms, how severe they were and how long it took from the time of the injury until they were symptom-free.
In addition to reporting more severe symptoms, girls took an average of 56 days to be symptom-free. In comparison, the boys took 34 days. Overall, the time to recovery was 44 days when boys and girls were pooled.
That duration of symptoms, Fehr said, is much longer than what people commonly think. "Commonly you hear that seven to 10 days [for recovery] is average," he said.