According to a recent study, women athletes could be 50% more likely than male athletes to experience a sports-related concussion.

The study examined 1,203 Columbia University athletes from 2000 to 2014 (822 men and 381 women) who participated in sports such as soccer, basketball, and football. Each of the participants took tests to measure their thinking skills and processing speed before and after a concussion. In addition, their symptoms and return to play were tracked, notes a media release from the American Academy of Neurology.

During the study period, 228 athletes—88 women, or 23%, and 140 men, or 17%—experienced at least one concussion.

The researchers also find that athletes who had suffered a previous concussion were three times more likely to have another concussion as those who had never had a concussion. In the gender comparable sports of soccer and basketball, women were more likely to have had a concussion.

“It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussions than men,” says James Noble, MD, of Columbia University in New York, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, in the release. “The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion.”

The release adds that while women appear to be more susceptible to concussions, the study indicates they recover from the injury just as quickly as men. The average return-to-play time was 10 days for both men and women.

In addition, the study results suggest that men and women had similar symptoms following a concussion, except when it came to amnesia and insomnia. According to the study, 44% of men experienced amnesia versus 31% of women; and 42% of women had insomnia compared with 29% of men.

The study will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology 69th Annual Meeting in Boston.

[Source(s): American Academy of Neurology, PR Newswire]