Talk about concussions in sports, and most people think of football or maybe boxing. But it turns out that in sports that both men and women play, women actually sustain more concussions than men. There are a lot of theories about why. Girls get less education about concussions than boys do; men and women have different hormones protecting their brains; and doctors and trainers tend to treat injuries to male athletes more seriously than they do injuries to females. But until recently, there has been very little scientific study of these or other possibilities.
But it's become clear that women athletes also get worse symptoms from concussions, and recover more slowly from them, than men. In a world where female athletes are just as determined to return to action as males, this puts them in even greater danger. Because if athletes go back too early -- and half of all concussed athletes return to play while they still have symptoms, according to the latest research -- they are more likely to get further injuries, and more serious injuries.
This week, in an ESPN The Magazine story, on Outside the Lines and in espnthemag.com profiles, we'll take a look at the impact concussions have had on the lives of a series of young female student-athletes -- what they've been through, and what they have learned. And if you or anyone you know has had a similar experience, we'd love to hear those stories in the comments area below.