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Study Finds Female Patients May Respond Differently to Traumatic Brain Injuries

A study published recently in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that girls who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) may show more psychological symptoms than boys do, including psychological distress, and may respond by turning to drugs or other self-destructive behaviors. Parents, teachers and coaches who work with female student-athletes may find this information particularly useful in identifying and helping to treat potential concussions in girls.

Researchers interviewed over 9,000 Ontario students in grades 7 through 12 who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Sports were the most common cause of these injuries. The girls who were surveyed reported that they had considered suicide, experienced distressing psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety, become victims of bullying, and even tried smoking cigarettes to cope. By contrast, boys who were surveyed reported more "acting out" behaviors, like bullying and poor grades related to classroom misbehavior.

Researchers are still uncertain whether a difference in the symptoms of TBI among boys and girls indicates a different response in brain chemistry, a different approach to treatment, or social factors. They say more investigation is needed before doctors will know exactly how these findings should affect treatment of TBI in each group.

Traumatic brain injuries send 2.5 million Americans to the emergency room every year. While boys are still more likely to suffer concussions than girls, girls are by no means immune to traumatic brain injuries. Sports like soccer, basketball and cheerleading can cause concussions in any student who participates if an accident occurs.

At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our experienced Omaha child sports injury attorneys strive to protect the legal rights of each injured person we represent. Contact us today to learn more.

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