American parents suing over soccer and concussion risk: Is it relevant that girls get hurt more often?

Two pieces of news with interesting connections.

First, there’s a class account lawsuit by American parents against Fifa over concussion risk to young soccer players. See

A group of young American footballers and their parents have sued Fifa and US football groups over the risks from concussions.

The California class-action lawsuit accuses the sport’s governing bodies of acting “carelessly and negligently” and failing to protect young players.

The filing also calls for new safety rules, including limiting the number of headers for young players

Second, there have also been reports about the higher concussion risk for girls playing soccer. See the Wall Street Journal.

Researchers aren’t sure why girls are more likely to suffer concussions, but theorize it’s because girls’ neck muscles are not as strong or because they are more likely to report their injuries. Most concussions result from collisions with another player, not from heading the ball, says Matthew Grady, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at the Children Hospital of Philadelphia.

Most leagues require players who show symptoms of concussions (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems) to be cleared by a medical professional before returning to the field. The practice became an official rule of the NFHS this past school year.

And also the Washington Post.

Since 2008, high school girls’ soccer players have reported an average of 14 concussions per 10,000 games played (a game is equal to one game played by one player). The figure is nearly twice the average for boys’ soccer (7.30), and only football (27) and boys’ hockey (18) have reported more concussions than girls’ soccer.

I’m not sure why I find this shocking. But I do. I think I’m making the same mistake I’ve accused others of making. See Dangerous Sports and Assumptions and Gender and Risk.

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