Sex-based Differences in Sports Concussions

Catherine Logan

October 21st, 2019

Rates and Patterns of Lower Extremity Sports Injuries in All Gender-Comparable US High School Sports
Source: OJSM, first published October 1, 2019
Clinical Question: To describe the epidemiology of lower extremity sports injuries (LESIs) among US high school athletes.
Bottom Line: LESIs are common among high school athletes and disproportionately affect girls more than boys
Points to consider: This study is descriptive in nature and used an internet-based reporting system (High School RIO/Reporting Information Online). Only gender-comparable sports were included (soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball/softball, swimming and diving, track and field, X-country, and tennis). Rates and patterns of injury were evaluated.
Takeaway: LESI rates were highest in soccer (girls, 15.87; boys 11.68), followed by basketball (girls, 11.5; boys 9.35) per 10,000 athlete-exposures. Note, since this was a gender-comparable study, sports such as football and cheerleading were not included.

Sex-Based Differences in the Incidence of Sports-Related Concussion: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Source: Sports Health, first published September 30, 2019
Clinical Purpose:To conduct a meta-analysis on sex-based differences in concussion incidence in various sports and to determine the effects of study design (retro vs prospective), setting (competition vs practice), and population (university/pro vs high school) via meta-regression. 
Bottom Line: Concussion incidence rates were significantly higher in females than in males for soccer and basketball. 
Points to Consider: 38 studies were included. Sex-based differences in concussion incidence rates for baseball/softball, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming/diving, and track/field were NOT statistically significant. In meta-regression, there were no significant effects on the rate ratio when evaluating study design, setting, and population.
Takeaway: Both studies suggest the rates of injury and concussion are higher in females in both soccer and basketball. Maybe consider lacrosse, just sayin.

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About the Author:
Catherine A. Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT is a sports medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon and writer. Based in Denver, CO, she is an attending at Colorado Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics at Rose Medical Center.. Dr. Logan is the Head League Physician for Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) member of the team physician pool for the US Ski & Snowboard teams each year. Dr. Logan completed her Orthopaedic Surgery residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program and her Sports Medicine Fellowship training at the prestigious Steadman Philippon Research Institute/The Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO. Logan is also on the board of The Chill Foundation.