Facts and Myths of a Concussion

There are an estimated 1.8–3.6 million head injuries in adolescents each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concussions are thought to account for approximately 6–9% of the injuries in organized sports. Because of the vast amount of emerging research on concussions and the number of head injuries in the media these days, it is more important than ever to educate athletes, parents, coaches, and the general population on the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion occurs when there is a rapid deceleration of the brain, due to either a direct or an indirect blow to the head, causing the soft tissue of the brain to collide with the hard skull. (For a visualization of this, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY7J7bccNoU.)

Concussion Signs and Symptoms.

There are several signs and symptoms to be aware of if you think someone you know has suffered a concussion. To be diagnosed with a concussion, only one persisting symptom needs to be present after a blow to the head.

  • Amnesia (of any kind)
  • Confusion or appearing dazed
  • Loss of consciousness (*not necessary to be diagnosed with a concussion)
  • Irritability, sadness, or other changes in personality
  • Feeling sluggish, “foggy,” or lightheaded
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Headache or a feeling of pressure on the head
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbances (sleeping more or less than usual)

This video answers many frequently asked questions regarding the facts and myths of concussions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGFq0jDr3Tw.