Posts Tagged ‘athletic injury’

Female High School Soccer Players 64% More Likely to Suffer from Concussions Than Males

Female athletes concussion riskShe’s only 16, but she’s already been playing soccer for over a decade. In that time, Alex Anne Matthews, a junior at the Lovett School in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, has broken several bones and sustained two concussions. Unfortunately, according to a new study, the injuries Alex has sustained over her currently 12-year-long soccer career are not only common, but more common for female high school soccer players than males.

During a soccer game on September 4th of this year, Alex hit the ground with force. “She came up from behind me and slide-tackled my feet out from under me, and I landed on my side, and the first thing to hit the ground was my head,” she recalls. Alex’s parents looked on as it happened, and as her mother, Anne Matthews puts it, “Alex Anne got up like she always does and staggered a little to her right. And Chip and I looked at each other and went, ‘that doesn’t look good.”

Despite a noticeable headache, Alex charged on and played in a second soccer game that same afternoon, but it wasn’t too long before routine concussion symptoms: nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision set in. According to Dr. Kenneth Mautner of Emory Sports Medicine, “There’s actually sheering forces that occur inside the brain, and the brain literally gets shaken inside the skull.”

But, according to a new study, it’s much more common (64% more common, in fact)  for female high school soccer players such as Alex  to sustain concussions than it is for males playing the same sport. So what makes concussions more common for female soccer players? Dr. Mautner says it could be a few things.

“Something just as simple as girls report concussions more because they’re more likely to say when they’re hurt and not feeling well,” according to Mautner, could be one reason. There is also evidence to show that stronger neck muscles in men and their ability to absorb shock more effectively may lower their concussion risk, or that hormones may make female athletes more susceptible to sustaining an injury.

Female athletes may also take longer to recover from concussions. For both men and women, however, Dr. Mautner emphasizes the importance of not returning to the field too soon. “There’s no one test to say you’re ready or you’re not ready, so we see how their symptoms are. They need to be completely asymptomatic at rest, they need to be asymptomatic with exertion.”

The findings of the study are not intended to alarm parents or child athletes, but rather, to help raise awareness around concussion symptoms and the importance of taking heed to them when they present themselves. Nausea, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, sensitivity to noise and dizziness are a few of the most common concussion symptoms.

Thankfully for Alex, six weeks after sustaining her most recent concussion, she is back on the field and pursuing her next goal, to play soccer in college. We’ll be keeping an eye out for her on ESPN in the coming years.

For more information on Dr. Mautner or Emory Sports Medicine, visit: www.emoryhealthcare.org/sports-medicine

Not Just on the Sidelines: Emory Sports Medicine Doctors Work with the Atlanta Falcons On & Off the Field

Dr. Spero Karas Atlanta Falcons Team Doctor

Source: Atlanta Falcons Website

The Atlanta Falcons recently contracted Emory Sports Medicine physicians to help manage the team’s sports medicine needs. I am honored to now serve as the Falcons’ head team physician; my colleague, Dr. Jeff Webb, is the assistant team physician. Now that football season is finally upon us, we’re staying busy!

We’re excited to be bringing expert care to the Falcons in a three-prong approach that includes:

  • Athletic performance improvement – strength training and conditioning, biomechanical corrections, and injury prevention through corrective exercises and through training that improves flexibility, flexibility, posture, gait, and overall core strength and strength and balance.
  • Athletic training – the care and prevention of injuries through treatment, taping and orthotics, bracing, heat, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and similar methods.
  • Sports medicine – surgical and medical care of injuries and illnesses

As head team physician, I direct the sports medicine prong, working closely with Dr. Webb and drawing on all the resources of Emory Sports Medicine and Emory Healthcare so that, whatever the problem, I can rely on the finest specialists in the field. The Falcons play really hard and end up with many interesting injuries and illnesses. It’s my job to make sure that the Falcons are wrapped in a complete blanket of world-class care. Emory Sports Medicine offers comprehensive services and renowned experts who can cater to the needs of each player and his specific injury.

As you can see, our work will extend far beyond the sidelines of the games, but Dr. Webb and I will also be there on the sidelines for every game, assessing injuries, and providing care.

I’m really looking forward to being at the games with the Falcons, though it does require me to separate the football fan in me from the physician, taking a more analytic approach to the game. When the Falcons score a touchdown, I’ll be focused not on the elation of the moment or the guy who brought it into the end zone, but on all eleven guys who just contributed to that score. I’ll make sure they’re properly hydrated and that there are no issues arising from their ongoing injuries. I have to be more aware of the medical situation rather than getting too caught up in the excitement of the game.

I’m very proud to be the Falcons’ head team physician, but ultimately my job is to provide the best, most competent care in order to insure the health and safety of each athlete. I’ll save my own celebrating for later, when the job is done.

See how Dr. Karas and the team at Emory Sports Medicine is working with the Atlanta Falcons in this short video, “Meeting the New Team Physician,” on the Atlanta Falcons website.

About Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He currently serves as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Baseball and Lakeside High School, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University, Ogelthorpe University, Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.