LA CROSSE, Wis. - More and more studies are taking a look at how concussions on the field, or the court, can affect our kids. Research has already shown that concussions can severely impact the brain's ability to function normally, but new work done right here in Wisconsin highlights how much worse the brain injury can impact girls.
As a sophomore center-forward, Kelly Evers is used to the rough and tumble of the game and it didn't take her long to sustain an injury - her second year playing on the Viterbo women's basketball team, Kelly suffered a concussion that forced her to walk off the court for three months.
"You don't feel like yoruself, you feel out of it," she recalls from her injury. "It's hard to do any simple task."
Kelly's long recovery time is the subject of a new study by specialists at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Research there shows girls who suffer a concussion may have more severe symptoms and a longer recovery period than boys.
"The myriad of symptoms women seem to have, it's quite an interesting constellation as they go through their recovery phase," said Sheldon Wagner, an athletic trainer at Gundersen Health System. "The intensity of symptoms, headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, a lot of those things are to a worse degree for females as opposed to males."
It's not a small issue. Every year, emergency responders treat about 173,285 traumatic brain injuries relating to sports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Back on Viterbo's court, more than half of Kelly's teammates have had concussions.
It's been several months since her injury, but she has tentatively returned to the court as the team begins spring practices.
"Coming back on the court, I know I was definitely a little more cautious," she said. "I still wear this concussion headband."
Her recent run-in with the concussion is still in the back of her mind, as she looks forward to the fall season.
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