December 06, 2017
1 min read

Female athletes at higher risk of concussion vs male athletes during contact sports

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Results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed female athletes and patients with prior concussion were more likely to experience concussion during contact sports.

Among 1,200 Columbia University varsity athletes identified in a 15-year retrospective cohort study, Cecilia Davis-Hayes, BA, and colleagues found 228 athletes (23.3% were women and 17% were men) experienced at least one concussion during college. Overall, 97.8% of these athletes had follow-up data available.

With the exception of sleep disturbance and memory impairment, results showed similar post-concussion symptoms between men and women. However, researchers found the differences of memory impairment between male and female athletes were not statistically significant. According to results, female sex and pre-collegiate concussion were risk factors for collegiate concussion. Researchers noted the presence of eight or more post-concussion symptoms was a predictor for prolonged recovery among all athletes and for female athletes only, while this finding was not statistically significant for male athletes.

“Certain groups of collegiate, contact sport athletes seem to be at higher risk for collegiate concussion, namely those who are female and those who have suffered from a concussion prior to college,” Davis-Hayes told “As far as predictors of concussion recovery, those athletes who suffer from a greater number of concussion symptoms appear to be at greatest risk for a lengthy recovery period.” – by Casey Tingle

Disclosures: Davis-Hayes reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.