Why women’s ice hockey has a higher concussion rate than football

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, February 14, 2018
  • When college athletes play the same sport, women report concussions more often than men.Watch our other skating videos, featuring Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon: http://bit.ly/2oGrA7N Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjOIn college, women’s hockey players are reporting concussions at a higher rate than male hockey players. In fact, female hockey players are reporting a higher concussion rate than nearly all sports sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In several studies, female hockey players have reported concussions more often than men’s college football, and at a rate that is comparable to men’s college wrestling and men’s college ice hockey. Compared to sports like women’s tennis or women’s basketball, hockey is faster, played on harder surfaces, and involves more collisions, which partly explains the high rate of concussions but doesn’t account for the fact that female athletes are reporting more concussions than male athletes who also play hockey. In fact, several surveys have demonstrated that, besides hockey, female athletes consistently report a higher concussion rate than male athletes playing the same gender comparable sport (e.g basketball, soccer, softball/baseball).The reasons why are unclear, but this video highlights some of the plausible factors, including: gender bias, reporting bias, differences in style of play (for example, body checking is allowed in men’s hockey and is illegal in women’s hockey), hormonal differences (progesterone is of particular interest to researchers), neck strength, and differences in the structure of nerve fibers called axons. To help understand how these factors might influence the concussion rates, this video features interviews with University of North Carolina researcher Zachary Kerr and retired US Women’s Hockey player Josephine Pucci, who ended her career following several concussions. To hear her story of how she came back to win a 2014 Olympic Silver Medal while playing on the Harvard Women’s team, make sure to watch the video above.Resources:Headway Foundation: http://headwayfoundation.com/PINK Concussions: http://www.pinkconcussions.com/CDC Heads Up Initiative: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/co...Sources:Concussion Surveys:2007 epidemiology (Journal of Athletic Training):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...2010 7-year review of women's ice hockey injuries (Canadian Journal of Surgery)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2... 2012 study (Journal of Neurosurgery):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...2014 survey (NCAA):https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/fi...2014 research paper on injuries in women's ice hockey (Current Sports Medicine Reports):http://bit.ly/2EHXLOk2015 epidemiology (The American Journal of Sports Medicine):http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/1...Further Research:2014 research on neck strength (The Journal of Primary Prevention):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...2014 research on hormonal influence (Journal of Head Trauma):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...2017 research on nerve fiber structure (University of Pennsylvania/Experimental Neurology):https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/new...https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...Hockey Manuals:USA Hockey Checking Manual:http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/do...USA Hockey Introduction to Body Contact:http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/do...Additional Sources:2007 women’s Hockey epidemiology (Journal of Athletic Training):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...“Concussion” Chapter 15, “Sex Differences in Sports Medicine” by Dunbar and Putukian, 2016.Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06oOr Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H
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  • Vox


     a years ago +1144

    A note on the data: Many of you have noticed that the survey cited at 0:24 contradicts the fact that female athletes report concussions at a higher rate than men playing a comparable sport. However, despite that data point, the general understanding, established through many years of study by different researchers using a variety of methods, is that women do report higher rates of concussion. Although I wasn't able to squeeze all the data in the video, I've listed several sources in the description above. If you'd like to learn more, make sure to check them out. Thanks for watching! -Mac

  • Cameron Shearer

    Cameron Shearer

     3 months ago +197

    why did you edit it at 2:08 to make it look like the women's shot was the one that broke the glass?

  • Jack Murphy

    Jack Murphy

     a years ago +492

    Women's sports pretty universally have less money-making potential, so there is less financial incentive to avoid reporting. There is a larger and more lucrative market for men's sports, giving greater incentive to continue despite experiencing symptoms. It has been reported that NFL players will intentionally do poorly on their baseline concussion test so that they are less likely to get flagged for subsequent concussions, because there is a lot of money at stake. I suspect that this explains most of the difference.

  • HenrikTiger


     4 months ago +120

    Hockey player here.
    Part of the reason why female hockey players have high concussion rates (even though women’s hockey has no body checking) is because of bad habits.
    When girls start playing hockey, they often aren’t taught about the physical aspects of the game. While there’s no checking, there are still collisions and a high amount of body contact. (Important to note that most girls hockey players play in all girls’ leagues, but some do play with boys until middle/high school)
    With most girls thinking they don’t have to worry about being on the receiving end of a huge hit, females hockey players (even high level ones) continually do the one thing that you’ll rarely see male players in high school leagues and higher do: have their head down while skating.
    Male hockey players don’t skate with their head down because they know that if they do, they’re gonna end up unconscious in the hospital for a few days. Because there’s no checking in women’s hockey, females don’t think about body contact - even though women’s hockey still has a lot of collisions - so they don’t pick their heads up to see if someone’s coming at them.
    This is a bad habit that’s not been corrected by a coach at younger levels, and it carries on to big leagues. You can watch High level Girls’ high school hockey, Women’s D1 hockey, even the Women’s Olympic hockey games - you’ll always see them skate with their heads down, and that lack of preparedness for body contact is part of the reason why Women’s hockey has a high concussion rate.

  • troryANCAS


     a years ago +137

    Why aren't women hockey players allowed to check each other, though? Especially when they're playing against other women, and not men? Why take that aspect out of their game at all?

  • Our Founding Liars

    Our Founding Liars

     a years ago +1120

    Woman hockey players have more knowledge on the Illuminati so the elites are trying to silence them with concussions. Keep a s k I n g questions

  • Joachim Rosenkvist

    Joachim Rosenkvist

     3 months ago +38

    "I'll walk it off"
    Ever heard your head ring? Most guys respond with "eh?" And shrugs.

  • Eli Stevens

    Eli Stevens

     a years ago +49

    At 0:25 it shows that the "Men's ice hockey" concussion rate is 7.91 and women's is 7.50. It seems like the video is trying to create a narrative that women are suffering more concussions than men...but not when you compare them to the same sports.
    The video is comparing Women's Ice Hockey to Men's Football...apples and oranges.

  • astromann445


     4 months ago +37

    Wait but Women's hockey doesn't allow checking...

  • Ben Dover

    Ben Dover

     3 months ago +66

    2 reasons:
    1. Women have weaker neck strength
    2. Female players generally play with bad habits (skating with head down)

  • Antoine Morin-Prévost

    Antoine Morin-Prévost

     a years ago +1420

    I have a feeling that the difference comes from the fact that men don't report concussions as much as women, if they do they can be seen as weak, fragile and therefore loose their teammates / coach confidence. We also tend to ignore certain symptoms and are encouraged to "toughen up" and "be a man". Of course that's wrong, concussions are a very serious injury and leads to CTE, which has been linked to early dementia in many contact sports players, especially football.

  • Mark Z U C C

    Mark Z U C C

     a years ago +9

    Women are getting too many concussions:
    Vox: allow checking in woman’s hockey

  • Thomas Kiss

    Thomas Kiss

     3 months ago +7

    Lmao “Neck Strength”

  • Charlie Sutton

    Charlie Sutton

     a years ago +104

    'Beyond socio cultural factors, researchers are also asking if biological factors play a part to'
    Says it all about Vox

  • Paul Guy

    Paul Guy

     3 months ago +3

    "Why do women's hockey players get concussions?"
    Because all hockey players get concussions.

  • Derek the half a bee

    Derek the half a bee

     a years ago +13

    "However, despite that data point, the general understanding"
    Did you really just write that? So, ignore the DATA that YOU provided, and just go with your opinion?
    "although I wasn't able to squeeze all the data in the video, "
    So you were just able to fit in data that directly contradicts your point, but the tons of data that supports your opinion was left out?

  • moesgymmom


     a years ago +39

    0:25 It says that men's Ice hockey has more concussions

  • Jack park

    Jack park

     3 months ago +37

    There'a biological reason. Men are better designed for taking impact, especially male boxers who usually have much thicker necks.

  • slangnocturno


     7 days ago

    Bottom line don't play contact sports where your physical integrity could be compromised.

  • Noah Doerksen

    Noah Doerksen

     a years ago +421

    I think it all comes down to the fact male athletes don't report concussions because they want to stay in the game