Orthopedics

5 Concussion Myths Debunked

If your child plays contact sports, you’ve probably had one or two health scares – especially if he or she sustained a head injury, like a concussion.

A concussion is a mild brain injury that may occur when the head hits an object or a moving object strikes the head. But, how do you know if your child did, in fact, have a concussion?

Sanjiv Lakhia DO debunks common concussion myths, so you know what to expect if your child has one.

Myth #1: Helmets Can Prevent Concussions

While helmets do prevent skull fractures, there’s no helmet currently available that prevents concussions.

“The brain floats in the skull, kind of like the yolk inside of an eggshell. With any movement of the head, the brain will move with it,” Dr. Lakhia says. “That’s why – to date – it’s almost impossible to prevent concussions.”

On a related note, Dr. Lakhia says there is a group of headbands being advertised as a protective measure for preventing soccer players from sustaining concussions, but this is a myth as well.

Myth #2: Young Kids Get Better Faster

Many people believe that because children are younger, they’ll bounce back faster; however, children often take longer to recover from a concussion. “Typically, for youth, it’s a minimum of two [weeks], but up to four to six weeks, or longer,” Dr. Lakhia says.

Similarly, girls usually take longer to recover from concussions than boys; the reason why is unknown.

Myth #3: Football is the Most Dangerous Sport for Concussions

Not as many kids play football, says Dr. Lakhia, so the quantity is less. Soccer has a similar rate of concussion incidents as football does. "It's just not talked about as much," he says.

Myth #4: The Severity of the Impact Equates to the Severity of the Concussion

“You can have a really dramatic looking contact, like someone getting tackled roughly, and have no problems, and then you can have someone who takes a hit to the head or body and they end up with a severe concussion,” Dr. Lakhia explains.

Also, you cannot tell the severity of a concussion based on how it happened. The only way to identify the severity of a concussion is through monitoring how long it takes for the concussion to resolve. For example, if it takes 12 weeks for the brain injury to improve, it’s a severe concussion, whereas if it takes only a week, it would be a mild concussion.

Common concussion symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness and tingling

Myth #5: A normal CAT Scan Means You’re Clear

“The fact is that most CAT scans are normal in concussions,” Dr. Lakhia says. A concussion is an injury that disrupts how the brain functions, not the structure of the brain, and brain functioning is not monitored through a CAT scan. You should still have a scan, however, because it will pick up any swelling or bleeding.

*All professionals quoted in this article were affiliated with TriHealth at the time of initial publication.

Tags Orthopedics , Wellness and Fitness

Last Updated: September 06, 2013