Why women’s ice hockey has a higher concussion rate than football

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, February 14, 2018
  • When college athletes play the same sport, women report concussions more often than men.

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    In college, women’s hockey players are reporting concussions at a higher rate than male hockey players. In fact, female hockey players are reporting a higher concussion rate than nearly all sports sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In several studies, female hockey players have reported concussions more often than men’s college football, and at a rate that is comparable to men’s college wrestling and men’s college ice hockey.

    Compared to sports like women’s tennis or women’s basketball, hockey is faster, played on harder surfaces, and involves more collisions, which partly explains the high rate of concussions but doesn’t account for the fact that female athletes are reporting more concussions than male athletes who also play hockey. In fact, several surveys have demonstrated that, besides hockey, female athletes consistently report a higher concussion rate than male athletes playing the same gender comparable sport (e.g basketball, soccer, softball/baseball).

    The reasons why are unclear, but this video highlights some of the plausible factors, including: gender bias, reporting bias, differences in style of play (for example, body checking is allowed in men’s hockey and is illegal in women’s hockey), hormonal differences (progesterone is of particular interest to researchers), neck strength, and differences in the structure of nerve fibers called axons.

    To help understand how these factors might influence the concussion rates, this video features interviews with University of North Carolina researcher Zachary Kerr and retired US Women’s Hockey player Josephine Pucci, who ended her career following several concussions. To hear her story of how she came back to win a 2014 Olympic Silver Medal while playing on the Harvard Women’s team, make sure to watch the video above.

    Resources:

    Headway Foundation: http://headwayfoundation.com/
    PINK Concussions: http://www.pinkconcussions.com/
    CDC Heads Up Initiative: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_prevention.html

    Sources:

    Concussion Surveys:
    2007 epidemiology (Journal of Athletic Training):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1941297/
    2010 7-year review of women's ice hockey injuries (Canadian Journal of Surgery)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858376
    2012 study (Journal of Neurosurgery):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23199425
    2014 survey (NCAA):
    https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Concussion%20%20GOALS%20Exec%20Summary_Feb_12_2014_FINALpost_0.pdf
    2014 research paper on injuries in women's ice hockey (Current Sports Medicine Reports):
    http://bit.ly/2EHXLOk
    2015 epidemiology (The American Journal of Sports Medicine):
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546515599634?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed

    Further Research:

    2014 research on neck strength (The Journal of Primary Prevention):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24930131
    2014 research on hormonal influence (Journal of Head Trauma):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24220566
    2017 research on nerve fiber structure (University of Pennsylvania/Experimental Neurology):
    https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2017/november/women-may-be-more-vulnerable-to-concussions-because-of-leaner-nerve-fibers-penn-study-suggests
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29104114

    Hockey Manuals:

    USA Hockey Checking Manual:
    http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0042/6379/Checking_Manual_FINAL.pdf
    USA Hockey Introduction to Body Contact:
    http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0020/3311/IntroductiontoBodyContact.pdf

    Additional Sources:

    2007 women’s Hockey epidemiology (Journal of Athletic Training):
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1941287/
    “Concussion” Chapter 15, “Sex Differences in Sports Medicine” by Dunbar and Putukian, 2016.

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Comment

  • Vox
    Vox  a years ago +1150

    A note on the data: Many of you have noticed that the survey cited at 0:24 contradicts the fact that female athletes report concussions at a higher rate than men playing a comparable sport. However, despite that data point, the general understanding, established through many years of study by different researchers using a variety of methods, is that women do report higher rates of concussion. Although I wasn't able to squeeze all the data in the video, I've listed several sources in the description above. If you'd like to learn more, make sure to check them out. Thanks for watching! -Mac

  • Skankhunt42
    Skankhunt42  21 days ago

    They can’t hit or fight lol and they have the highest concussion rate maybe cause they aren’t good lol

  • Somtings - Achievement Guides

    I didn’t know this was even a thing before watching this

  • snarf
    snarf  1 months ago

    Better knowlege/disclosure does not explain a six-fold rate of injury.
    The style of play is also a pretty bad argument. Men get hit more and harder. There is a definite biological component to it.

  • Jeremy Snelgrove
    Jeremy Snelgrove  1 months ago

    keep your head up kids or you'll get a shoulder to the chin

  • slangnocturno
    slangnocturno  1 months ago

    Bottom line don't play contact sports where your physical integrity could be compromised.

  • frandav 2018
    frandav 2018  1 months ago

    I thought that it was "football" turns out it is "American football"

  • Lets get 100k Subs Without a Single Video

    Dude in the frozen four people have played it with a broken bones

  • CUM COMPILATION V46 TRY NOT TO CUM EDITION

    To put it simply, women have smaller, more feeble brains that can be more easily shaken inside the head

  • HigH Fritz
    HigH Fritz  2 months ago

    Is soccer (football) men are wussy‘s, they get taped in the leg and they start to roll around holding their face, a women could get payed out and still try to get back up and keep it in play. Also I think that women have a much stronger mental will.

  • Funny Snail
    Funny Snail  2 months ago +1

    Are you discriminating women?

  • Mickaylee RG
    Mickaylee RG  2 months ago

    Help me I almost got one yesterday but my back is sprained too 1of bed rest (edit-BEAVERS AND NORTH DAKOTA

  • HOBBIT cadillac
    HOBBIT cadillac  2 months ago

    woman are weak and fragile they aren't meant to do physical work and if you put them in this environment they are bound to be broken

  • Jeremy Morgan
    Jeremy Morgan  2 months ago

    who watches women sports anyway , boring

  • Christopher G. Treadway

    Their rate is still lower than men's hockey. Maybe hockey is just inherently rougher than football. Wait...why tf is this important? I'm confused.

  • Soviet -potato
    Soviet -potato  3 months ago

    cause women cant play hockey so they fall/hit they are getting checked

  • Lil Wang
    Lil Wang  3 months ago

    Football gets dedicated equipment bc it’s so big. I have a lax helmet and it’s $300 but it’s basically a bike helmet compared to like a speed flex.

  • oaktree_
    oaktree_  3 months ago

    Higher rates of REPORTING concussion. Not necessarily higher rates of concussion.

  • Centurion Libum
    Centurion Libum  3 months ago

    Isn't it just that women report concussions more I mean isn't it obvious? It's been like that ever since elementary school hasn't it?

  • Logan Revesby
    Logan Revesby  3 months ago

    Females with poor concussion resistance weren't selected against in nature because they weren't experiencing as many concussions as men.