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Women in sport three times more likely to suffer concussion than men

08 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Wales’ Jasmine Joyce (right) is tackled by New Zealand’s Stacey Fluhler. PA Images – Brett Phibbs.

The threat of sportswomen suffering brain injuries is “very likely” being underestimated, it has been claimed.

Rezon Ltd, a company that has developed a sports headband to help protect the brain, claims women are three times more likely to suffer a concussion than men.

They also found that only 1.2 percent of sport-related concussion studies have included all female participants, with more than 80 percent of research data coming from males.

Rezon’s chief executive Judith McMinn said: “With such a small percentage of the data coming from female players, it is very likely that the brain damage in sportswomen is underestimated and that we will only know the extent of neurodegenerative damage in years to come.”

Last month, sports law firm, Rylands Garth, were due to serve proceedings against Welsh Rugby Union, World Rugby and the Rugby Football Union.

The firm is representing more than 225 male rugby union players suffering from neurological impairments.

Over 20 players involved in the litigation – including former Wales captain Ryan Jones – have spoken publicly about their brain injuries from playing the sport.

‘Clear deficit’

Rylands Garth say its claimants “contend that these defendants were negligent in failing to take reasonable action in order to protect players from permanent injury caused by repetitive concussive and sub-concussive blows”.

With women’s sports now as physical as the men’s games, there is a higher number of head impacts per player, per season, leading to serious long term health implications.

Cardiff Metropolitan University lecturer in sport coaching, Nadine Kehely said: “Within the last decade, the popularity of women’s rugby has expanded and the women’s Welsh rugby team are now recognised professionally.

“But, there is a clear deficit in female sport research on the impact of concussions, even though the female physiology is vastly different to men.

“There is now a significant increase and growing concern on the long term effects of concussion for women in sport.”

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