NEW JERSEY (FOX 5 NEWS) - For the thousands of young female soccer players who take the field the risk of injury, including concussions, is part of the game. But now, a new alarming statistic could lead to long-term consequences.
A new study by Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine found that roughly 27 percent of all injuries suffered by girl soccer players are TBIs -- traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, told Fox 5 that these statistics are not unexpected.
"I'm not surprised at all. I think women and girls, in general, have really been a group that's under-recognized in terms of symptoms and concussion risks," Dr. Glatter said. "I think it's only now that the research is starting to reveal how much they are at risk."
This is the first research to report that concussions now account for a higher proportion of injuries in girls' soccer than boys' football, according to the study. The overall rate of concussions suffered in the sport is on the rise and already significantly higher than in boys' soccer.
"Part of this is related to the [neck] musculature, the development of the musculature, as well as ability to withstand acceleration, deceleration and rotational forces," Dr. Glatter said. "And because of this, they're just not equipped to take the impact."
So while sticking true to the sport they love, athletes of Edison United in In Edison, New Jersey, told Fox 5 that they try to keep that in mind when training.
It is also important to note that concussions are on the rise across all sports. Researchers believe this is related to the fact concussion protocols and TBI laws have changed at the youth and high school level, increasing awareness and creating a culture of reporting.