If you or a loved one play girls soccer or womens soccer, there are some alarming statistics about the rate of girls soccer concussions. In the video below, concussion specialist, Fred Stoot, talks about the impact concussions are having on the sport.
“Girls soccer and concussions has gotten a lot of a lot of attention lately because of a few reasons … There is a good study that came out recently that points out how womens NCAA soccer players sustain concussions at the same rate as mens NCAA football players.
And so when you think about repetitive head trauma and hits to the head – and things like that – I think girls soccer is a really good example of us not knowing enough about the impact of repetitive heading of the ball. Certainly when you go up for a ball and you go to head the ball, you [also sometimes] hit heads with other women. And there are falls on the field and things like that.
I think a lot more attention has [recently] been paid to womens soccer and certainly the concussive traumatic brain injuries that are associated with it.
I think there are some really good programs that have come out – and again the good programs through early season testing – which we do at HDPT (High Definition Physical Therapy) … We integrate that test (when someone) comes to us – a young woman with a head injury. And I think they have special needs in terms of … maybe not special needs … but special things that … we have to document well and early. We then understand what the sport is – they’re jumping, they’re anticipating the ball with vision, they’re reacting to play on the field – and so you have to take into account all those things that occur. We make sure they’re resting properly, have good strength around the joints after. And so that we that recognize early.
They may not (have) dramatic symptoms (at first), such as a one-time big head hit. But, we’ve seen significant kids who come to us and say ‘I’m having problems sleeping.’ Or another early indicator is ‘My daughter was a 4.0 student and now her grades are slipping and we can’t quite figure out why we’re having concentration problems.’ And people get upset easily … because you know she is playing soccer and face the demands of school.
I think what we recognize now is that if those complaints are actually post concussive symptoms, they need an intervention. They need good documentation. The vision dynamic balance system we apply does that. And it gives us much better diagnostics early. And we can confidently say ‘yeah’ that that makes a lot of sense.
Another concussion problem we hear with girls soccer is that girls soccer players tear their ACL (anterior cruciate ligaments) at an unprecedented rate across all sports. The last time I read … there are 300,000 anterior cruciate ligament tears in girls soccer every year in the country. And that’s a problem.
I think one of the reasons is is that we possibly may not recognize a subtle concussive injury that continues to accumulate. So, the reaction times are less … if your reaction types are less – and again the shocking part is 70 percent of all ACL tears that occur in soccer, occur in a non-contact situation – so what is it that we’re missing: where somebody can’t anticipate the play and their knees get just a little bit behind.
We’re starting to get better research out there. At HDPT, we’re working really hard on documenting our outcome studies and where we think that intervention should be. So, I think you know protecting young women and protecting their joints and certainly protecting their brains is critical, too.”
The rate of womens soccer concussions equals the rate of mens football concussions in the NCAA. Concussions occur from repetitive ball heading, hitting heads, and falls. When a player suffers from mild concussion, they may be more prone to other injuries, such as ACL tears.
Getting treatment early, even for mild head trauma, is important to alleviate further concussion issues or even post-concussion syndrome. High Definition Physical Therapy, located in Englewood, CO, is a physical therapy concussion clinic that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of concussion.