Concussion Trajectory in Female Athletes Prolonged When Specialty Care Delayed

September 24, 2019
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine logo
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine logo.

Sports related concussions are the major cause of concussions in Pediatrics. While most concussion injuries resolve within four weeks, up to one-third of children with concussions experience post-concussion symptoms beyond the four-week mark. Female athletes are more likely to experience post-concussion symptoms, when compared to male athletes. Columbia Orthopedics provider Natasha N. Desai, MD, along with other researchers, examined characteristics in youth and high school athletes with concussions to investigate the underlying factors that may contribute to the difference in experiencing post-concussion symptoms in female and male athletes.

The study, titled “Factors Affecting Recovery Trajectories in Pediatric Female Concussion,” analyzed the records of 192 male and female athletes, who were between the ages of 7 to 18 years old, diagnosed with a concussion, and saw a sports medicine specialist. Female athletes presented later to specialty care and took longer to recover when compared to their male counterparts. However, the differences disappeared when the time to present to specialty care, for female and male athletes, was controled. The study found that the delay, for female athletes, in seeking treatment may cause them to experience an increase in concussion symptoms as well as a longer recovery time.

“This is a retrospective study of a large cohort of pediatric concussions that correlates later presentation to specialist evaluation for concussion with longer time to resolution of symptoms and return to sport regardless of gender,” stated Dr. Desai. “What is interesting is that females tended to present later to the specialists for evaluation and therefore as a group took longer to recover. One thought is that there is not equal sideline medical coverage for youth female sports as there are for male sports such as football and hockey.”

The study was published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. Read the full article here.