Researchers explore head injuries related to girls soccer

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As central Ohio welcomes the United States Women’s National Soccer team to MAPFRE Stadium, researchers are releasing new information about the impact of soccer and the high school girls who participate.

After years of researching the dangers of football on the brain, new research is focusing on a different sport and a different gender.

“More recently, we’ve been understanding that girl sports need to be studied, too because girls are susceptible — just as many, if not, more — concussions than boys are,” Dr. Sean Rose, co-director of the Complex Concussion Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

According to researchers, while concussion rates in many sports are down, girls who play soccer are at nearly the same risk for traumatic brain injuries as boys who play football.

The study also revealed girls’ soccer was second for the number of concussions. It was uncovered that there are eight concussions per 10,000 practices in girls’ soccer compared to 10 per 10,000 practices with football.

“I think soccer is a high-risk sport for concussions because of headers,” Dr. Rose said. “Also, because of heads colliding going up for headers. There are also other parts of the sports, like slide tackles and other tackles, in the middle of the field.”

Dr. Rose urges parents to not only keep an eye out for those key indicators for concussions like headaches and difficulty with vision and nausea — but also more subtle things like emotional or mood changes and sleep problems.