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Women continually left out of concussion research

Eric Hipple
Posted at 11:30 AM, Jan 10, 2023

There's a growing awareness about concussions, but the discourse is typically centered around men.

"I do think a lot of the research that we see often is funded or associated in some way with men's professional sports. And so what comes along with that is a disproportionate focus on men and concussions among men," said Kathleen Bachynski, associate professor of Public Health at Muhlenberg College.

An analysis from the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms that most concussion research has focused on men.

Researchers looked at the studies cited by the organizations that help guide concussion diagnosis and protocols.

They found the participants in those studies were 80% men.

"We definitely know that women are at risk of concussions. Not just in sports, but also military, intimate partner violence, many, many contexts, and from preliminary research it does seem like there may be some differences I don't think we fully understand. Yet, the extent to which some of those differences might be biological, some of it might be social or cultural, and some of them might be a mix," Bachynski said.

Bachynski is on the advisory board for Pink Concussions, a nonprofit group that advocates for more research on concussions in girls and women.

She notes that more funding is needed for better representation in studies.

The International Conference on Concussion in Sport will release a new statement this year that reflects the latest in concussion research. Some experts in the field are pushing for that statement to acknowledge the gender gap.