Study: Concussions are About as Common for Each Gender

February 13, 2020

A new study involving University of Colorado students indicated concussions were about as common for women as for men but that female athletes had suffered concussions at a higher rate.

Consider these results when educating students, staff, and coaches about how to prevent concussions — and how to recognize and respond to traumatic brain injuries should they occur.

The December 2019 cohort study involved about 1,000 undergraduate students at the University of Colorado who were diagnosed with at least one concussion. Results were detailed in JAMA Network Open, a monthly open access medical journal published by the American Medical Association. 

According to the study, during the 2016 to 2018 academic years:

  • Women ─ not including athletes ─ sustained concussions at a slightly higher rate than men (128.8 concussions per 10,000 students for women vs. 115.7 concussions per 10,000 students for men)
  • 67.5% of athletes’ concussions involved women (though the institution had more male athletes)

Data came from undergraduates who sought medical care at the student health care center during the 2015 to 2018 school years and from varsity athletes who received care through the university’s athletics department during the 2016 to 2018 school years.

Among the study’s limitations: Some students won’t seek care for concussions, and some will seek care from somewhere other than a student health care center. “It is also unclear if the general undergraduate population seeking care at the student health care center is an accurate representation of the university’s student body and, beyond that, whether the study university’s student body is representative of other U.S. collegiate populations,” the study notes.

The study included all varsity athletes at the university but that it didn’t provide a deeper analysis of athletes’ data, such as breaking down the concussion by sport.

Colleges and universities seeking to prevent concussions among students should learn more about the Concussion Awareness learning program available from Canopy Programs. The program explains the danger of ignoring concussion symptoms, outlines the seriousness of concussive injuries, and lists the sports most impacted by concussions.

Canopy Programs Resources
Concussion Awareness Learning Program

Additional Resources
Characteristics and Incidence of Concussion Among a U.S. Collegiate Undergraduate Population