07 Apr Do you really know concussions? Demystify these 6 common myths
1. No loss of consciousness, equals no concussion
Contrary to popular belief, a concussion can occur even without loss of consciousness. In reality, fewer than 10% of individuals who sustain a concussion will lose consciousness following the incident. In regards to the recovery and short- or long-term consequences of the concussion, there are no observable differences between individuals who lost consciousness and those who did not. In both cases, this type of injury should be taken seriously and properly cared for!
2. Protective equipment helps prevent concussions
After a quick acceleration of the head (i.e., the
rapid back-and-forth movement of the head), the concussion will occur on the inside when the brain comes into contact with the skull. That being said, a concussion can occur even without direct contact to the head. A hit to any part of the body that jolts the head forward or backward can cause a concussion. Studies also demonstrate that athletes who use a helmet, such as football and hockey players, are just as likely to sustain a concussion as those who do not, such as Australian football players. Helmets do however, remain an essential piece of equipment to prevent more serious head injuries.
3. Equipment-integrated sensors allow the detection of concussions
No scientific evidence currently exists showing that impact-detecting sensors attached directly to the head area accurately detect concussions. In fact, studies demonstrate that even state-of-the-art sensors only detect about 1 out of every 5 concussions.
4. A sport-related concussion is not as serious as a concussion caused by a motor vehicle accident
Many consider concussions occurring in a sports-related environment not as serious because the force applied to the brain cannot possibly be big enough to cause any real damage. However, the impact on the brain of an athlete who sustains a concussion in a sports-related setting will be equal to that of a driver whose car crashes into a wall while travelling 60 to 75km/h. Would you label that as a minor incident?
5. Concussions have a cumulative effect
As the number of concussions add up, so can the intensity and duration of symptoms. Recovery can take longer and lead to permanent cognitive deficits. If athletes hide their symptoms in order to return to play faster, which they tend to do, they can also increase their risk of sustaining another concussion! Multiple concussions have serious consequences on the brain.
6. Children and teenagers are less vulnerable to concussions
Another common myth is that the brain of children is less vulnerable to concussions than that of adults. Recent data regarding the development of the brain seem to suggest the opposite; it’s in fact more vulnerable! The risk of a concussion is also higher for a developing brain than it is for an adult brain.