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Concussion Common Among Young Female Soccer Players
Most players continue to play with symptoms; fewer than half seek medical attention

THURSDAY, Jan. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of cumulative concussion is 13.0 percent per season for female soccer players aged 11 to 14 years, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.

John W. O'Kane, M.D., from the University of Washington Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study from March 2008 through May 2012 involving 351 elite female soccer players, aged 11 to 14 years, from 33 randomly selected youth soccer teams. The authors sought to assess the frequency and duration of concussions.

The researchers identified 59 concussions with 43,742 athletic exposure hours. Per season, the cumulative concussion incidence was 13.0 percent, with a rate of 1.2 per 1,000 athletic exposure hours. The median duration of symptoms was 4.0 days (mean, 9.4 days). Heading the ball explained 30.5 percent of concussions. Recovery time was significantly longer with the presence of light sensitivity, emotional liability, noise sensitivity, memory loss, nausea, and concentration problems. More than half of players continued to play with symptoms (58.6 percent) and 44.1 percent sought medical attention.

"Concussion rates in young female soccer players are greater than those reported in older age groups, and most of those concussed report playing with symptoms," the authors write. "Awareness of recommendations to not play and seek medical attention is lacking for this age group."

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