Concussion Facts, Myths and What to Avoid

Concussion Facts:

  •  Symptoms can be subtle, such as a headache or feeling sluggish.
  •  Symptoms may not surface until 48 to 72 hours after the injury.
  •  Recovery is different for every person who sustains a concussion, thus recovery time cannot and should not be predetermined until after medical evaluation and post-concussion evaluation by a certified athletic trainer.

Concussion Myths:

  • Myth: You have to have loss of consciousness to have sustained a concussion.
    Reality: Studies show that less than 10% of concussions result in loss of consciousness.
  • Myth: Concussions are only a result of a direct blow to the head.
    Reality: A concussion can be sustained by a sudden, violent movement of the head caused by an unexpected external force to the body.
  • Myth: You need to wake someone with a concussion every 20 minutes.
    Reality: Though it is important to check on someone periodically, it does not have to be every 20 minutes. Once every 2-3 hours is sufficient.
  • Myth: You need to check pupils with a flashlight to see if they are dilated or uneven.
    Reality: Any response to the pupils is indicative of a much more serious brain injury.  Typically, this is only present when the injured indiviual is unconscious.  Therefore, if the athlete is coherently speaking to you, there is no need to check their pupils.

What to avoid and do when a concussion is suspected:  (Things that should be considered so recovery is not delayed.)

  • Avoid any loud noises ( Music, TV, band practices, or listening to an IPOD)
  • Avoid texting, reading, video games, typing, or internet use. All of these activities cause an increase in cognitive function which puts a strain on the brain.
  • Avoid any over-the-counter medications (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve) that may mask any symptoms, unless advised otherwise by a physician.
  • If studying is needed to be done for a quiz or test the next day or that week, the school nurse, athletic director, administrator, and/or guidance counselor should be contacted and made aware that a concussion is suspected and postponement of any quizzes or exams may be needed.
  • Staying home from school may be recommended if the concussed individual wakes up and begins to experience headaches right away. This may delay recovery as well.

REMEMBER:  There is no such thing as a minor head injury.  Symptoms may become worse with exertion or possible rest.  Athlete should not return to play until cleared by medical personnel.  Consult an athletic trainer or concussion expert immediately if any signs or symptoms are reported or observed.