MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you think of concussions, you likely think of football.
But it turns out the high school sport that causes the most concussions is girls soccer, according the the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Concussions can come from headers, bumping into other players or by falling and hitting the ground. While boys soccer also sees concussions, experts say there are more in girls soccer. This comes as Minnesota high school teams take the field at U.S. Bank Stadium for the state tournament.
Kyler Burrows is a freshman at Orono High School and plays JV soccer.
“I love it,” she said. “Good day, bad day — it’s just so much fun to be with my teammates.”
Last year, she had a very bad day on the field.
“I felt dizzy, like everything was just a big blur,” she said. “It was all hazy. I couldn’t remember how I got it, what happened. I knew right away, I was concussed.”
She still doesn’t remember the details ,or how her head hit the ground.
Just a block away from the tournament, at Hennepin County Medical Center, neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani and her staff are doing research to try to curb this trend.
“We do see concussions from soccer. Unfortunately, it’s a common problem. We do see it more commonly with girls than with boys,” she said. “I think there are three reasons that girls are more susceptible to concussions than boys.”
Dr. Samadani says brain receptors are different in boys and girls, and she says boys are more used to roughhousing and falling. Also, she says data show boys necks are stronger than girls, so concussions are more severe.
“It’s affecting their head more, changing the acceleration on the head, more than a boy’s head,” she said.
So Dr. Samadani is working to figure out if neck strengthening will help protect these players heads.
Kyler says she’s wearing a special headband at her mom’s request, but she is still playing soccer.
“I love the game so much, I just had to get back out there,” she said.
Dr. Sadani is working with seven Metro high schools to see if neck strengthening will help prevent concussions.