Concussions: Facts and Myths You Need to Know

What is a Concussion?

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A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a blow to the head or a sudden movement of the head caused by an unexpected external force to the body. This means that you don't have to actually hit your head to have a concussion.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a concussion, assume they do and seek treatment for it. A neurologist or neurosurgeon such as Dr. Fayaz will be able to assess the patient and determine if a brain injury occurred.

Your doctor may require a CT scan of your brain or other tests that will help determine the patient's ability to concentrate, react and solve problems. These tests can help your health care professional identify the effects of a concussion. Even if the concussion doesn't show up on these tests, you may still have a concussion.

Based on the doctor's assessment they will give you instructions on how to take care of yourself following the concussion.

Concussion Myths:

Myth: If you didn't lose consciousness, you don't have a concussion.

Truth: You're more likely to be conscious after the impact that causes the concussion. Studies show that less than 10% of concussions result in loss of consciousness.

Myth: You shouldn't sleep if you have a concussion.

Truth: As long as the person is able to have a regular conversation as they fall asleep (or right before), they can go to sleep. If you'd like, you can check on them every few hours, especially if they're children, just to be sure they can be roused from sleep.

Myth: If the CT scan is clear, you don't have a concussion.

Truth: A CT scan will pick up any bleeding or swelling in the brain, but it can't pick up cellular damage which may have occurred. Your doctor will provide a diagnosis once the CT scan is read and s/he has completed their diagnostic testing.

Myth: You can get back to your sport or regular activity once your head feels clear again.

Truth: It can take up to two weeks for your brain injury to heal. Even if you're feeling fine after two weeks you shouldn't start your regular schedule of physical activity all at once. Ease back into it.

Myth: You need to check pupils with a flashlight to see if they are dilated or uneven.

Truth: A brain injury that causes the pupils to dilate differently is extremely serious. Typically, this would only happen to an injured person who is unconscious. Therefore, if the athlete is coherently speaking to you, there is no need to check their pupils.