NEW YORK —On the soccer field, 14-year-old Bella Henry is in her element.
“I love playing soccer,” she told CBS News. “It’s my favorite sport in the whole world.”
But she’s been sidelined three times in the last year because of blows to the head. The goalie has already experienced two concussions.
“Just a straight week of sleep, headaches, no electronics.”
New research from The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association shows that adolescent girls suffer from sports-related concussion symptoms twice as long as boys on average. The average female athlete reported symptoms lasting 28 days while their male counterparts only had 11.
Why such a big difference? Researchers believe it may be due to underlying conditions like migraines, depression, anxiety and stress.
“You have your concussion symptoms, and then you have your stress and your stress symptoms, and they can overlap,” said Dr. Joelle Rehberg, a Sports Medicine Physician with the Atlantic Neurological Specialists group. “Very often, the concussion symptoms have resolved, but you’re still dealing with stress headache.”
“A concussion is really good at finding your weak point and exploiting it. So, whether you may have had vision problems all along and maybe that becomes worse. Maybe you have a little bit of anxiety or depression and that becomes worse.”
As for Bella, doctors said she’s on the road to recovery and will be back to practice soon.