A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, indicates that following a concussion, women may take longer to recover than men.

Previously, some studies have indicated that symptoms may be more severe in women who experience concussion. But the new study highlights the fact that there are likely gender differences.

The current study involved male and female soccer players in high school and college. The athletes were tested for learning and memory skills prior to the soccer season. Those who suffered a concussion were given the test a second time, eight days after their head injury. In the first test, the athletes all had similar scores. But in the second test, women with concussions had lower visual memory scores by an average of 69 percent, compared to 77 percent among male athletes.

Another telling factor: Women reported migraine headaches and sleep problems twice as often as men.

While the jury is still out on the significance of body size and neck strength when it comes to concussions in men and women, this is important news. It highlights the fact that concussion is a women’s health issue. I would encourage young female athletes to learn more about concussions and their symptoms, and also encourage them to take the ImPact Neurocognitive Baseline Test. The study is also important news for physicians and school nurses. Understanding gender differences can assist in diagnosis and treatment of concussion, and just as important, determining when a female athlete is fully recovered and able to return to play.

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