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Gender differences in time loss among high school and collegiate athletes participating in soccer, basketball and baseball/softball following a concussion

Monday, November 2, 2015

Melanie Ewald, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, aurora, CO
Sarah K. Fields, PhD, Department of Communication, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO
R. Dawn Comstock, PhD, Epidemiology, Pediatric Injury Prevention Education and Research Program, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Background: Athlete participation in high school and collegiate sports has steadily risen over the past decade. Athletes are at risk for concussions which, if not managed properly, can result in long term heath deficits. The aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in recovery time following a concussion.

Methods: High school injury data from 2005/06 through 2013/14 was collected from the National High School Sports Related Injury Surveillance System. Collegiate injury data from 2005/06 through 2008/09 was collected from the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program. Sports evaluated were soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.

Results: Female high school soccer players were more likely than males to miss ≥22 days (OR=1.77 [95%CI: 1.13, 2.76] P= 0.013) or be medically disqualified for the season or their career (OR=2.12 [95%CI: 1.06, 4.24] P=0.035). High school female basketball (OR=2.55 [95%CI: 1.50, 4.40] P=0.0006) and softball (OR=2.40 [95% CI: 1.05, 5.45] P=0.037) players were more likely to miss ≥22 days compared to their male counterparts. No significant gender differences existed in concussion recovery times among collegiate soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball athletes.

Conclusions:Female high school athletes are kept out of play longer following a concussion compared to male athletes participating in the same sports. Similar gender differences did not exist among collegiate athletes. Research is needed to determine if high school gender differences are due to increased concussion severity among females or if clinicians manage females more conservatively and why gender differences disappear in college.  

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe gender differences in recovery time following a concussion in high school and collegiate athletes

Keyword(s): Youth, Emergency Medical Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a second year MPH student who has been working with injury surveillance data with the HS RIO study at the Colorado School of Public Health under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Comstock for the past year. My interests have involved age and gender differences in time loss following sports injuries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.