Concussions and gender: Who's at risk?

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Every year about 300,000 young athletes suffer a concussion. A new report in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows exactly which sports put young athletes at risk. (WLS)

Every year about 300,000 young athletes suffer a concussion. A new report in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows exactly which sports put young athletes at risk.

Hali Jester knows what it's like to push beyond her limits.

"After my second concussion is when I started to getting these awful migraines, and these awful neck pains," Jester said.

New research shows that young, female athletes are 12 percent more likely to get a concussion than boys. Researchers said that may be because girls are pushing themselves harder than ever, they are more likely to report a concussion, and girls have longer necks that aren't as developed as boys.

"Often women don't have the same muscle protection to control head movement that men do," said Dr. Kathleen Bell, director of the Concussion Clinic at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

When researchers studied high school sports data that included more than six-thousand concussions, they found that girls' soccer topped the concussion list, followed by girls' volleyball and basketball. Football came in fourth.

Researchers think the jump in concussion rates for female soccer players is due to a lack of protective headgear and an increased emphasis on "heading" the ball.

Researchers hope this study leads to changes in policy and that more measures will be taken to protect young athletes. Already, the enforcement of stricter laws on traumatic brain injuries has brought more awareness to the issue.

If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at www.ivanhoe.com.

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