When it comes to concussions and the management of these injuries, there seems to be a lot of misinformation flying around. This can be very detrimental to our health, because concussions are serious injuries that need certain treatments to ensure the individual has the best chance to make a full recovery.
In an effort to help clear up some misconceptions, we want to point out what’s fact and fiction when it comes to concussion care.
Fact or Fiction
Test yourself to see how well you know concussions and their management.
1. You only suffer a concussion if you lose consciousness at the time of trauma.
This is a common misconception, but you can absolutely suffer a concussion even if you don’t black out or lose consciousness. If you notice any of the symptoms of a concussion (dizziness, confusion, grogginess, loss of balance/coordination, headaches, difficultly sleeping, etc.), head to a doctor.
2. Concussion only occur from a direct blow to the head.
While this is the most common way that a concussion occurs, it certainly isn’t the only way. A number of people suffer concussions in car accidents where they suffer whiplash. This results in their head snapping forward or backwards while their body remains still, and when their head moves violently in one direction, their brain can hit the inside of the skull, causing internal trauma without an external direct blow.
3. You don’t need an MRI or CT scan after a suspected concussion.
This is true, for the most part. Most concussions don’t show up well or at all on an MRI or CT scan, although a CT scan can identify intercranial clots in some instances. Instead, the most common way to diagnose a concussion is with an evaluation by a neurospecialist who will look for symptoms and physical indicators, like how your eyes respond to light.
4. Someone with a concussion shouldn’t be allowed to sleep.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how to manage sleeping after a concussion. Sleep and rest are imperative after a concussion to help the brain heal, but you also need to be proactive checking on the person to ensure they aren’t suffering from things like brain bleeding or intercranial pressure. It’s recommended that you wake a concussion patient every 2-3 hours to ask them a simple question to see if they are still in the right frame of mind. This is usually only recommended within the first 12 hours of the concussion, but ask your neurospecialist for specific sleeping care guidelines.
5. You can recover from a concussion in 24 hours.
This is false, as any head injury serious enough to be considered a concussion requires more than 24 hours for full recovery. In fact, some concussions never full heal. Don’t expect to be back on the practice field the day after suffering a concussion.
6. A coach or trainer is the best person to determine if an athlete can play again after a concussion.
Hopefully your coach puts your health first, but even so, they aren’t the best person to determine if you are healthy enough to return from a concussion. A trainer is better, but still not the best option. Instead, make sure you receive clearance from your primary care doctor or your neurospecialist before returning to physical activity.
For more information about concussions and how to best care for them, reach out to Dr. Chang today!