Concussion Symptoms May Last Longer For Girls Than Boys, Study Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New research shows girls suffer with concussion symptoms longer than boys.

As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, concussion is one of the most common injuries of teen athletes, and they are up 60 percent since 2001.

We often assume that it is just contact sports such as football that pose concussion risks, but the number one concussion-causing sport in girls is cheerleading. And they may suffer longer than boys.

On the soccer field, 14-year-old Bella Henry is in her element.

“I love playing soccer,” she said. “It’s my favorite sport in the whole world.”

But she has been sidelined three times in the last year because of blows to the head. The goalie has already experienced two concussions.

“Just a straight week of sleep, headaches; no electronic,” Bella said.

New research shows adolescent girls suffer from sports-related concussion symptoms twice as long as boys. A study published in the journal of the American Osteopathic Association finds that they extended recovery time may be due to underlying conditions including migraines, depression, anxiety, and stress.

“You have you concussion symptoms, and then you have your stress and your stress symptoms, and they can overlap,” said Dr. Joelle Rehberg of Atlantic Neurological Specialists. “Very often, the concussion symptoms have resolved, but you’re still dealing with stress headache.”

Rehberg is a sports medicine physician.

“A concussion is really good at finding your weak point and exploiting it,” she said. “So whether you may have had vision problems all along and maybe that becomes worse. Maybe you have a little bit of anxiety or depression and that becomes worse.”

Bella is now on the road to recovery, saying she is “definitely” ready to get back to playing. She will soon be back to practice and back in the game.

There was no difference in concussion symptom duration between age groups or the sport played. The big difference was that the boys in the study suffered with symptoms for 11 days average, while girls suffered 28 days.

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