Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Canada's Ashley Lawrence, left, and New Zealand's Ria Percival go for a header during the Women's World Cup match in Grenoble, France, on June 15, 2019.

The Associated Press

Half of elite female soccer players who suffered a head-collision event received medical assessments, compared with a third of male players, according to a Canadian study published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers reviewed 52 matches from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and monitored the games for the frequency and medical assessment of head collision events, time stopped for assessment and visible concussion signs. The data were compared with the 2014 and 2018 Men’s World Cups and the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup.

In the matches reviewed, 84 per cent of female athletes and 88 per cent of male athletes showed two or more visible signs of concussion after a head collision event, including clutching of the head or disequilibrium.

Story continues below advertisement

The median time that play was stopped for a medical assessment in women’s tournaments was 70 seconds compared with about 50 seconds in men’s matches. A minimum of 10 minutes is required to perform a concussion assessment.

According to Dr. Michael Cusimano, lead researcher on the study and a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the differences in how head collision events are handled between the two genders may lie in the on-field officials.

“In the women’s game, all the referees are women. So we think that there’s a cultural aspect that might be there. I think that may play a role,” Cusimano said. “I think there may be heightened awareness because there’s certain heightened reporting of women’s concussions.

“So we think those are probably important reasons why it might be slightly higher, but really, neither gender is really getting a passing grade.”

Cusimano suggested increasing the role of video assistant referees, employing independent medical assessors or allowing temporary player substitutions to provide sufficient time for medical assessments.

“I think we need to get some action on this. We’ve looked at three elite men’s tournaments – two World Cups and the European championship – and now the Women’s World Cup and we’re consistently finding the same things,” Cusimano said. “I think we need a culture shift.

“I think it depends also on the people who fund the sport, the sponsors of these high-level tournaments should be called upon to take a stand that player health is critically important. We shouldn’t just pay lip service because we constantly hear from groups and organizations that player health is of utmost concern.”

Story continues below advertisement

A March, 2019, study on the cause of concussions in soccer by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital found that most head traumas were caused by player-to-player contact.

Related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies