Young female soccer players may ignore concussion symptoms

Seattle – Female middle-school soccer players may choose to ignore concussion symptoms and stay in the game, suggests a new study from the University of Washington Sports Medicine Clinic.

Researchers studied 351 female soccer players 11-14 years old between 2008 and 2012. A total of 59 concussions were identified, 30.5 percent of which were attributed to “heading” the ball. Concussions occurred at a rate of 1.3 per 1,000 athletic exposure hours, which researchers noted was higher than the rates found among high school and college soccer players.

Symptoms lasted an average of 9.4 days. Although 44.1 percent of players with symptoms sought medical attention, almost 60 percent continued to play, leading researchers to call for studies to develop strategies to raise awareness about the need to report a concussion and stop playing.

The study was published online Jan. 20 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.