New York, Oct 3 : Teenage female athletes suffer concussion symptoms twice as long as their male counterparts, researchers have found.
“These findings confirm what many in sports medicine have believed for some time,” said lead researcher John Neidecker, a sports concussion specialist in Raleigh in North Carolina, US.
The research analysed the medical records of 110 male and 102 female athletes, aged 11 to 18, with first-time concussion diagnoses. The median duration of symptoms was 11 days for boys and 28 days for girls.
The data also showed that symptoms resolved within three weeks for 75 per cent of boys, compared to 42 per cent of girls.
Prior research has shown that concussions exacerbate some pre-existing conditions, including headaches, depression, anxiety and stress, all of which are more prevalent in girls and mirror hallmark concussion symptoms.
Researchers also mentioned that understanding the overlap of symptoms means physicians must be skilled at eliciting patient history to get a full understanding of factors that might complicate recovery.
“Often in this age range, issues like migraines, depression and anxiety have not yet been diagnosed. So, if I ask a patient whether they have one of these conditions, they’re likely to say ‘No’. But when I ask about their experiences, I get a much clearer picture,” said Neidecker.
To better understand the patient, the researcher recommends asking young athletes whether they are hard on themselves or feel bad about not performing their best.