WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Hannah Stohler sat beside the piano she could no longer play, in the living room that spun like a carousel, in the chair in which she tried to read but could not remember a word. Ten months after her third concussion while playing high school soccer knocked her into a winter-long haze of headaches and dizziness and depression that few around her could comprehend, Stohler recalled how she once viewed concussions.
"I thought they were a football injury — a boy thing," said Stohler, a junior at Conard High School in West Hartford, Conn. "Those guys are taught to hit hard and knock people to the ground. But anyone can get a concussion, and I don't think a lot of girls recognize that. They have no idea how awful the effects can be — it changes your life."
Stohler, 16, has more company than most people know. While football does have the most concussions (and controversy over their treatment) in high school athletics, girls competing in sports like soccer and basketball are more susceptible to concussions than boys are in the same sports, studies show.
According to a study to be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, in high school soccer, girls sustained concussions 68 percent more often than boys did. Female concussion rates in high school basketball were almost three times higher than among boys.