Concussions are a common type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may occur due to a hit or jolt to the head or back of the body that causes the head to jerk back and forth. The force can cause the brain to bounce and/or rotate in the skull resulting in a concussion. According to the CDC’s most recent figures, there were over 220,000 TBI related hospitalizations in 2019. Concussions remain a common risk yet there are many myths surrounding the injury that can lead to misinformation and misunderstandings about this serious medical condition. This article will address some of the most prevalent myths associated with concussions to help people better understand and treat these common injuries. 

Myth #1: You Must Stay Awake if You’ve Suffered a Concussion

One of the most perpetuated concussion myths is that people with concussions should not be allowed to sleep after suffering a head injury. The belief is that the concussed person will lose consciousness or fall into a coma in their sleep. 

The truth is quite the opposite: sleep is beneficial for concussion recovery. In fact, the brain is actively recovering during sleep. Overstimulating the brain during a concussion will slow the recovery process down. Instead, sleeping it off will allow the brain to get the cognitive rest it needs and reduce recovery time. 

Myth #2: If You Don’t Have Symptoms Right Away, You Don’t Have a Concussion

Oftentimes, concussion symptoms appear right after the injury occurs, but they can also take several hours or even days to develop. Concussions affect each person differently and symptoms may change during recovery. It’s important to monitor symptoms closely and seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms after suffering a head injury:

  • Dizziness or balance issues
  • Low energy, feeling tired
  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Vision problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Short or long term memory problems 
  • Feeling more emotional
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep duration changes
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Mood changes

Myth #3: You Have to Lose Consciousness to Get a Concussion

While a concussion can lead to a loss of consciousness, only a small minority of victims experience this symptom. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, only about 10% of those who experienced a concussion lost consciousness. 

It should also be noted that a loss of consciousness shouldn’t be used as a way to measure the severity of a concussion. There is no correlation between loss of consciousness and length of recovery time. 

Myth #4: Sports are the Main Cause of Concussions

Playing sports does increase the chances of experiencing a concussion. Contact sports in particular are notorious for their high concussion rates; namely football, ice hockey, and lacrosse. However, the leading causes of TBIs are falls, car accidents, and assaults. This statistic serves as a stark reminder that anyone can suffer from a concussion, not just athletes. Falls can be attributed to nearly half of TBI related hospitalizations according to Koch & Brim, personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas. 

Myth# 5: You Must Hit Your Head to Sustain a Concussion

Impacts to the head are very commonly associated with concussions. As alluded to earlier, it’s not the only way to endure a concussion. Any impact that jostles the brain enough can result in a concussion. Impacts with a considerable amount of force, like during a car accident, can jerk the body in a way that results in rapid acceleration or deceleration of the brain causing a concussion. Even if there were no direct impacts to the head, a concussion cannot be ruled out. 

Learn the Facts, Get Proper Treatment

There are many misunderstandings when it comes to concussions, likely because everyone experiences symptoms differently. In reality, concussions are a serious injury that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. Increasing awareness of the common myths and misconceptions associated with concussions can help you prevent and manage this type of injury. If you or someone you know experienced a head injury and is exhibiting symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or confusion, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Most people who sustain a concussion and receive proper treatment fully recover and return to their normal activity in a few weeks.