Concussions are serious and complex injuries, and every case is different. Athletes are often at an elevated risk of experiencing a concussion. Statistics from the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program indicate that there are between 1.7 and 3 million sports and recreation-related concussions every year. Whether you are an athlete or your loved one is, it’s important to make sure that you aren’t falling for the most common concussion myths.
High-Quality Helmets and Mouth Guards Will Prevent Concussions
Unfortunately, there is no extensive evidence that better helmets or mouth guards will prevent concussions. Whether it’s a hard shell or soft padded helmet, they will work to reduce the force of impact, which is good. However, there is no evidence that they will dramatically reduce the risk of concussions. Hard helmets serve the dual purpose of protecting against other head injuries like fractures and cuts, and they should still always be worn. Educate your athlete or yourself on risk reduction practices when playing sports, like not hitting from behind or adjusting the tackling technique in football.
Every Hit Leads to a Concussion
The amount of force that causes a concussion is incredibly difficult to measure, even with new technology. There is no set standard for what can cause a concussion, as sometimes high forces do not cause injury while lower forces cause heavy damage. Instead of judging the force of a hit to determine if a concussion could have occurred, follow the 3 Rs:
- Recognize the symptoms of a concussion
- Remove the athlete (or yourself) from play
- Report the incident
If You Are Conscious, You Don’t Have a Concussion
This concussion myth is incredibly dangerous and false. Less than 10% of concussions result in a loss of consciousness, and you can be completely awake for the duration of the hit and aftermath that leads to a concussion. Loss of consciousness is only one of numerous symptoms that point to a brain injury. When in doubt, take the player or yourself out. Concussion symptoms can take minutes, hours or days to completely manifest, and playing through a concussion can cause tremendous damage.
Know the Signs of a Concussion with Reflect Neuropsychology
Reflect Neuropsychology is a leading neuropsychology firm in Southern California, specializing in counseling, therapy and neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents and adults. We also can address your medicolegal needs and provide expert witness testimony, legal examination of medical records as well as independent medical examinations for capacity assessments and more. As a highly specialized practice, we can focus on evidence-based, personally tailored treatment and evaluation. To learn more about our services and schedule an appointment, visit us online or call us at (818) 324-3800.
McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, et al Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012 British Journal of Sports Medicine 2013;47:250-258.