September 8, 1999, page 1
BY BECKY BEAUPRE STAFF REPORTER
|Head injuries aren't just for football player anymore.
That's the message underscored in new research that ranked female soccer players the third most likely high school athletes to get concussions. They suffered more than 6 percent of the mild head injuries recorded in a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Football ranked first with 63 percent of concussions, followed by wrestling at 10 percent. Research found incidents of head injuries in all 10 sports they studied.
"The likelihood is very low, but the point is they do occur in [other sports]," said John W. Powell, an associate professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University and one of the authors of the report.
Nearly 63,000 high school athletes a year suffer mild concussions, according to another study in the same issue.
"This is an area of major concern for anyone involved in athletics," said John Riehle, coathletic director at Evanston Township High School.
September 8, 1999, Page 21
BY BECKY BEAUPRE STAFF REPORTER
Laura Heine hasn't been the same since the day she collided with another player during a club soccer game in Iowa two years ago.
``She felt real sick afterwards,'' her mother Judy said. ``And ever since then, she's had some really bad headaches.''
Laura, 16, still plays soccer for Fremd High School in Palatine and for a local soccer club.
But now she avoids hitting the ball with her head. And on Friday, she's visiting a headache clinic--the latest in a series of trips to doctors.
That's why Judy Heine wasn't surprised to hear that female soccer players accounted for more than 6 percent of mild head injuries in a recent study of high school athletes.
``I don't think it's common, but it is something that happens to soccer players,'' Heine said.
Girls' soccer ranked third in mild head injuries among the 10 high school sports studied, according to the report in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
Football ranked first with 773 of the 1,219 head injuries recorded, and wrestling was second with 128. Head injuries also were recorded in other sports; volleyball ranked last with only six injuries.
``What this tells me is mild traumatic brain injury is an issue in a variety of activities,'' said John W. Powell, an associate professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University and one of the authors of the report.
The researchers studied how often concussions occurred in football, wrestling, girls' and boys' soccer, girls' and boys' basketball, softball, baseball, field hockey and volleyball at 235 high schools nationwide from 1995-96 through 1997-98.
Local high school coaches and trainers take head injuries very seriously.
``We've had quite a few girls [on the soccer team] end up with concussions heading the ball or heading each other,'' said Bruce Romain, head athletic trainer at Evanston Township High School. ``It's a serious concern, and it's potentially a very serious problem.''
Among the school's 1,350 athletes, Romain sees about four or five concussions a month. Most students are treated and experience no long-term problems, he said.
``But the thing that worries me the most are kids who don't come to us,'' Romain said.
Symptoms of a concussion can range from serious to subtle and include headache, nausea, dizziness and confusion, Powell said.
He hopes the study will raise awareness that head injuries can occur in any contact sport.
Even if the injuries don't happen in football ``they still warrant attention,'' he said. ``The ... identification of these cases when they occur is critical to proper medical care.''