Updated: Sep 27, 2020
It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussions than men or why, following a head injury, women experience more severe symptoms such as poorer reaction times, extended periods of depression, and delayed return to work compared to men.
Scientific research has shown that female and male brains differ in dozens of ways in activity patterns, anatomy, chemistry, and physiology. In one study, researchers suggest that women have smaller, more breakable nerve fibers in the brain compared to men that may make them more susceptible to concussions and experience worse outcomes than male athletes.
There’s lots of evidence that suggests greater neck strength and activating the neck muscles to brace for impact may both help reduce someone's risk of concussion during a collision. Since women and children have less neck strength than men and adults, they may be at a higher risk of getting a concussion
Women who suffer a mild TBI during the two weeks leading up to the premenstrual phase of their period, when the hormone progesterone is at its highest level, fare worse in a number of ways including mobility, pain and emotional health, compared with women at low-progesterone phases of their cycles, according to a recent study. That may be because a sudden drop in progesterone aggravates postconcussive symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness and brain fog, the study authors suggest. Girls who haven’t started menstruating yet and postmenopausal women have outcomes similar to men.