Study examines gender differences of head impact exposure among high school athletes
Male high school soccer, basketball and lacrosse athletes had higher head impact rates compared with female athletes in the same sports, according to published results.
Investigators at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used headband-mounted impact sensors to quantify head impact exposure in a population of high school female (n = 56) and male (n = 68) varsity soccer, basketball, lacrosse and field hockey (female only) athletes. According to the study, investigators used video review to rule out false-positive sensor-recorded events.
“Male athletes had significantly higher head impact rates as compared with female players in soccer (3.08 vs. 1.41 impacts) basketball (0.90 vs. 0.25) and lacrosse (0.83 vs. 0.06),” the investigators wrote in the study.
Additionally, investigators found similar impact mechanism distributions across sports and genders. In soccer, 78% of head impacts resulted from head-to-ball contact, while 88% of head impacts in basketball resulted from player-to-player contact, according to the study.
“Accurate head impact exposure data obtained via head impact sensors may help identify appropriate strategies across sports and between genders to mitigate repetitive head impacts,” the investigators wrote. “Overall, the data provided in this study provide an objective quantification of head impact exposure across sports and between genders that can be useful in anticipatory guidance for clinicians to provide to patients as they consider sport participation.”