Study: Girls More Prone To Concussions

Sweden's Sara Johansson, left, attempts a shot at goal as North Korea's Sonu Kyong Sun heads the ball away during their Group B match at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup soccer tournament in Tianjin, China, Tuesday Sept. 18, 2007.
AP Photo/Greg Baker

Ever since the U.S. women's soccer team rose to the World Cup, the term "playing like a girl" has taken on a whole new meaning. A new study finds girls are playing so hard they're getting serious head injuries more often than boys.

"What we found [is] girls significantly more likely to sustain concussion than boys in both girls basketball and girls soccer," Dr. Dawn Comstock, the study's author, told CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

According to a study to be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, while football still dominates the field for concussions, in high school soccer girls were 64 percent more likely to sustain a concussion - usually from falling while trying to head the ball.

In basketball girls were 300 percent more likely to get a concussion.

"The fact that women don't have necks as well developed as men, so that the shock absorber so to speak is not as well developed in the women," said head-injury expert Dr. Robert Cantu. "And then the one I kind of like - women may just be a bit more honest than men in terms of honestly admitting that they've had post-concussion symptoms."

Signs of a concussion include headaches, dizziness, confusion and insomnia. Researchers also found girls take longer to recover from head injuries.

"The headaches that you're having right now, are they every day?" Dr. Vernon Williams asked a patient. "Do they seem to fluctuate, come and go?"

High schooler Britany Ulshafer couldn't concentrate in class after her concussion.

"We know that concussions are a serious brain injury and the negative symptoms can range all the way up to death," Comstock said.

Still, the study authors don't want parents to panic and pull their kids out of sports, saying the health consequences from obesity are more dangerous than the possibility of a concussion.