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Five Myths About Concussions

Author: CHKD Sports Medicine
Published Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

By: Kristyn Anslemo, DPT

It is estimated that 3.8 million recreational and sports-related concussions occur annually in the United States.

Despite education in recent years and increased media attention, there are still several misconceptions about concussions. Let’s dispel some of the most common myths.

Myth #1: Athletes must be hit on the head to sustain a concussion.

It’s true that a direct hit to the head can cause a concussion, but an athlete can also suffer a concussion from any whiplash force applied to the body, resulting in the brain’s movement inside the fluid of the skull.

Myth #2: It is only a concussion if the athlete loses consciousness.

Actually, it’s estimated that loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10 percent of individuals who sustain a concussion. 

Myth #3: All concussions have the same symptoms.

No two concussions are the same. Headache, confusion and memory loss are common symptoms of a concussion, but there are others. If your child has sustained a head injury, take note of any unusual behavior and symptoms he’s experiencing. A licensed healthcare provider trained in concussion management can help create the appropriate treatment plan for each athlete.

Myth #4: Don’t let your child sleep after a concussion.

After a head injury, rest is the first intervention. Keeping an older child or teenager awake usually isn’t necessary. However, if you suspect a concussion, have your child removed from play immediately and evaluated by a physician experienced in treating concussions. CHKD's Sports Concussion Program can help. Our evaluation will include a thorough review of signs and symptoms, and a complete physical examination. Call us at (757) 668-7529.

Myth #5: Once an athlete’s headache is gone, it is okay to return to play.

The return-to-play criteria specifies that an individual must be symptom-free at rest, symptom-free with physical exertion, back to baseline on neurocognitive evaluation and back to school full-time without any new accommodations. Read more about the state of Virginia’s guidelines and policies and procedures on concussions in student athletes here.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.