Females experience concussions differently than males but there has been little research on the topic. Dr. Mayumi Prins, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center education program, is looking to change that. He notes that most research has focused on male concussion patients and therefore there is little information available as to the science as to why females may suffer more concussions and experience more prolonged symptoms.
Scientific research has shown that female and male brains differ in terms of activity patterns, anatomy, chemistry, and physiology. Concussions may affect females differently than males for a variety of reasons, including hormonal issues and differences in upper bodies – especially the way muscles in the neck react after collisions. Also, females may be more likely than males to disclose concussion-related symptoms such as headaches, diminished social interaction, and depression, according to Prins.
Females may also take longer to recover from brain injuries than males. While the majority of people who experience concussions recover in a week or two, some experience prolonged symptoms known as post-concussive syndrome. People who experience post-concussive syndrome should contact a neurologist.
While female athletes sustain concussions at a higher rate than males when playing sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball, Prins notes the benefits of participation in sports and that the relative risk of concussion is quite low compared to other activities.