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Female players suffer more concussions in quidditch

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Women who play quidditch have a higher rate of concussion than men, according to research led by Edinburgh University’s medical school.

Based on a game in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, quidditch is a physically intense, mixed-gender full-contact sport.

The researchers sent an anonymous self-reporting questionnaire to all active quidditch players in the UK, aiming to examine the types of injuries sustained while playing quidditch in terms of their incidence, anatomical distribution and severity, and gender distribution.

A total of 348 participants of 684 eligible athletes responded to the questionnaire. There were 315 injuries reported by 180 athletes in total, with an overall incidence of 4.06 injuries per 1,000 hours of play.

No differences were seen between males and females in superficial injuries, sprains, fractures or dislocations, but there was a statistically significant difference in the rate of concussion, with female athletes sustaining more concussions than males.

More than 20% of quidditch injuries reported were described as ‘concussion’.

Reporting their findings in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, the researchers said that the overall injury rates in quidditch are no higher than those reported in other recreational contact sports, despite the mixed gender nature of the game. However, the higher rate of concussion in female athletes needs further investigation.

Future research should also collect more information about player exposure to quidditch, in terms of time spent playing games and in practice, and about players who are not in the injured cohort, for example what position they usually play, the authors said.

They also suggested further research focusing on the impact the broomstick has on injury patterns.

“This is important to analyse as it is one of the factors that makes quidditch a unique sport, along with its mixed gender nature,” they said.