Concussions – Myths and Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Concussion a Bruise to the Brain?

No, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth stretching and damaging tiny, fragile, nerve fibers, called axons, in the brain.   

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion?

The signs and symptoms of a concussion vary greatly among individuals and can affect several body systems.  Some common symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, amnesia surrounding the event, and fatigue. Symptoms that may appear later include concentration and memory problems, changes in mood and personality, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety.   

Do I Need to Hit My Head to Sustain a Concussion?

No, concussions can be caused by a sudden bump or jolt to the body that shakes the head, like whiplash from a car accident, falling down the stairs, running into someone, falling off a bicycle, trip or fall, being shaken violently, etc.  

Do I Need to Lose Consciousness to Sustain a Concussion?

No, in fact, according to the International Concussion Society, less than 1 in 10 people with concussion lose consciousness on impact and 90% of sports-related concussions occur without the individual losing consciousness. Don’t ever think that a concussion did not occur in an individual simply because they did not lose consciousness.  

How Common are Concussions?

It's estimated that between 1.6 to 3.6 million recreational and sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States. More and more concussions are being diagnosed and treated each year due to massive concussion research and the efforts to educate the public of this serious, yet highly misunderstood, public health threat. In fact, according to the International Concussion Society, the rate at which concussions have been diagnosed in individuals under the age of 22 has increased 500% since 2010.  

When Can an Individual with a Concussion Return to Play?

Because some symptoms show up later, it is important to be cleared by a medical professional before returning to activity – even if you feel “ok.”  Returning to play too soon puts an individual at risk of sustaining another concussion before the original concussion has healed – a condition called second-impact syndrome, which can lead to dangerous and even fatal consequences.  

Will Wearing a Helmet Prevent a Concussion?

Helmets are being produced that are sport-specific to attempt to minimize the significance of a concussion. There is no helmet which will absolutely prevent them. In cycling, specifically, a technology was developed in Sweden which is currently being made available in most manufacturers’ helmets called MIPS. MIPS-equipped helmets have a specially designed inner lining which allows the helmet to move additional millimeters if the wearer’s head strikes an object. This additional movement is designed to minimize the impact on the brain to reduce the severity of a concussion. They don’t market the helmet as concussion prevention. Most helmets were originally designed to prevent skull fractures, for which they are pretty well designed to do. They were never initially designed to minimize concussions. This is a relatively late development following the explosion of brain research in the last decade.

What Can I Do if I’ve Suffered a Concussion in a Florida Accident?

After suffering a blow to the head in a car accident, bicycle accident, fall, or sports activity, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention (especially if you have a prior history of concussions) and follow your physician’s orders. It’s very important that you describe all of the symptoms to your doctor, regardless of how minor they may seem. Never overlook or downplay concussion symptoms. If you would like more information about concussions download a copy of our helpful consumer guide The Layman’s Guide to Brain Injuries.

If you need our help regarding an accident you have been in contact our office at 727-446-0840 or start a live chat with us online.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.