There is a lot of buzz about Toni Harris, the first female football player to play college football. She snagged herself a scholarship at Central Methodist University. We all agree this is an exciting time of change, but what about the safety of female football players, in college or even professional leagues? Head injuries and concussions are a hot topic amongst all levels of play, so should we expect to see a significant difference in female versus male brain impact?
Let’s take a look at how the female brain differs from the male brain. There are a number of structural elements that differ in the human brain between males and females.
1. Females often have a larger hippocampus, the human memory center.
2. Females often have a higher density of neural connections into the hippocampus.
3. In the womb, female brains develop with different hemispheric divisions of labor.
4. The female brain is 10% smaller than a man’s brain.
5. As men age, their brain shrinks faster than the female brain.
6. Female brains heat up more, as more glucose is “burnt”
When we take a closer look at data behind concussions in match-play sports, we find interesting facts. In sports played by both men and women, women sports typically have a higher rate of concussion. What’s odd about this? Women’s hockey is no-contact, yet men’s hockey is full body contact. But still, women’s hockey has a higher concussion rate than men’s hockey. In fact, men’s rugby chimes in at the top of the list for most concussions in a match-play sport, football following close behind, and women’s hockey comes in at third.
Toni Harris has addressed her concerns with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and the risk of head injury. She says, “I mean, you worry about CTE and those things but if you let your fears determine how you’re gonna play on the field then maybe you shouldn’t be playing because, as soon as you start worrying about those things, that’s typically when you get hurt.”
She continues, “Although I take all those safety protocols of taking my head out of the game and everything, I try to play and have fun with it and try not to worry about those things. I try and make sure I take all the right safety protocols so that those things don’t happen and that I don’t have to worry about them.”
We applaud Harris for her diligence and passion for the game, and we know we will continue to see greatness in her football career.
Our g-force impact reducing SAFEClip was invented with one goal in mind: to keep our players safe on the field. The reason we wake up every day is because we are creating a safer football game – for men AND women.