Concussions in Women's Hockey
Unites States Women’s Hockey team in 2018. Photo by Getty Images.

Concussions in sports is a topic that has continued to grow in conversation. Especially when the NFL acknowledged that playing can lead to brain damage from concussions a few years ago. Although everyone can agree that football is a sport that leads to a lot of concussions, there is another surprising one. There is a higher report of concussions in women’s hockey during college.

Understandably, hockey can result in concussions. From the speed to checking, it is an aggressive sport that leads to injuries. However, in women’s hockey, there is no checking. In a 2015 NCAA survey, they found that women’s hockey reported more concussions than men’s football. So why does women’s hockey have such a high reporting of concussions?

Some scientists theorize that it has to deal with the physiological difference between men and women. The more common ones are that women are more aware of concussion symptoms, their neck strength plays a factor, hormones, style of play or the structures of their nerve fibers lead to concussions.

However, people tend to forget that this is based on reporting. If athletes aren’t reporting their injuries then it won’t be accounted for. So, it could simply rely on the fact that women may report more frequently than men. By reporting injuries, the athletes willingly agree to take time off to heal. If they don’t want that, then they can stay quiet about their injuries.

According to the same 2015 NCAA report, women from all sports report a higher rate of concussion than men. The exact reason as to why women have more reported concussions is inconclusive.

Former U.S. Women’s National hockey player Josephine Pucci talked about this matter. She talked about her experience with a concussion before the tryouts for the Olympics. She suggested that because women’s hockey doesn’t include checking, they could be overall unprepared to be hit. When she played against boys she knew to always expect to be hit once she received the puck. That is not the case in women’s hockey.

Pucci wants there to be more protocols involving concussions. She also wants people to talk about it so it will continue to roll the ball on concussion research. Hopefully, we can find out why concussions in women’s hockey are so prevalent and make changes to help prevent concussion injuries overall.