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Youth Girls May 11, 2012

NBC News feature draws attention to concussion epidemic in girls’ soccer

Certain experiences are rites of passage for young female soccer players, like beep tests, team bonding, tournament road trips and, all too often, knee ligament injuries. Sadly, concussions and their often-debilitating aftereffects seem to have joined this list as well.

This week NBC News aired a troubling feature story about this issue on its “Rock Center With Brian Williams” show, highlighting the case of six high-school age girls in the Philadelphia area whose soccer careers – and for some, entire lives – have been deeply affected by brain injuries sustained on the field of play.

“It’s almost like I need a sign on my back saying, ‘my head is broken,’” said one.

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The sport’s increasing pace and intensity, combined with a different physiology which apparently makes girls more susceptible to traumatic head and neck injuries, has led to an outbreak that every player and parent should be aware of.

“People who think of concussions as only being present mostly in guys, and mostly in the sport of football, are just plain wrong,” Dr. Bob Cantu, a Boston-based specialist in the field, told NBC News. “Soccer is right at the top of the list for girls.”

[ +Click here to view the many concussion info resources on U.S. Youth Soccer’s website ]