I don’t know anyone without at least a loose idea of what concussions are, but when it comes to the details things get a bit messier. Due to a combination of widespread misinformation and new information coming out constantly, myths and misunderstandings about when it comes to concussions and brain injuries as a whole.
Myth No. #1 – Football and Hockey are responsible for the most high school sports-related concussions
While football does lead the pack for most young athlete’s brain injuries, most people erroneously assume hockey isn’t far behind thanks to the hard hits and semi-frequent fights. However, the second most risky sport for brain injuries isn’t played on the ice. Girls’ soccer is responsible for the second highest number of concussions.
Myth No. 2 – The best sign of injury severity is loss of consciousness
While losing consciousness from a brain injury isn’t ever a good thing, it also isn’t a reliable sign of how bad the injury is or how severe symptoms will be. Loss of consciousness is relatively rare in concussion cases, only occurring about 10 percent of the time. The real best indicator is memory loss or on-the-field amnesia. Still, it is best to watch for symptoms and judge based on their severity rather than predicting based on one factor. Symptoms you should be on he look out for include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, blurred vision, memory loss, ringing in the ears, bad taste in mouth, convulsions, numbness, poor coordination, mood swings, and trouble concentrating.
Myth No. 3 – Rest is the only way to recover from a brain injury
Rest is a fundamental part of concussion recovery, but if there are clear cognitive changes due to concussion there are specific proven brain training programs that can help. Specifically, “cognitive skills training,” intensive, one-on-one brain training helps force he brain to better utilize and re-grow synapses. By reorganizing how the brain relays signals between cells, you can restrengthen the cognitive skills weakened by injury.
Myth No. 4 – Parents cannot do anything to prevent against concussions
There are actually quite a few ways parents can work to more effectively prevent against concussions. There are no surefire options, but the following can at least cut the risk:
- Check the condition of your child’s protective gear and ensure it fits properly.
- Have your child-athlete undergo cognitive skills assessment to provide a baseline so you can effectively compare the results of any future post-concussion tests.
- Ensure your student’s coaching staff follow standard concussion regulations and safety measures.
- Talk with your young athlete about the risks associated with concussions—especially repeated head injuries.