Test Your Knowledge About Concussions - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Test Your Knowledge About Concussions

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BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Many parents worry about dangerous head injuries, with good reason; as many as 10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season. What you don't know about this common injury could put your child at risk. We reveal some common myths.

Hollie Byer knows what it's like to play with pain. She's suffered four concussions.

"I remember just feeling so nauseous after the game," said Hollie Byer.

The injuries have worried her mom.

"I think about it even before she goes on the field, the night before she goes on the field," said Anita Byer, Hollie's mother.

Doctor Kevin Crutchfield said there are many myths about concussions parents should know. The first? You have to lose consciousness to get one.

"That's not true at all. You don't even have to hit your head to have a concussion," explains Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., a Neurologist from LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, MD.

Another: if someone has a concussion, you should keep them awake. In fact, Dr. Crutchfield said sleeping, or resting the brain, is best for healing.

The next myth: everyone who hits their head needs a brain scan. In fact, for kids radiation from a scan can be more dangerous than a head injury.

"Their risk of having a surgical lesion and having to go to the OR is dramatically less than your child developing thyroid cancer from the exposure to radiation," Dr. Crutchfield told Ivanhoe.

Helmets protect against concussions, right? Wrong! They're designed only to prevent skull fractures.

"A helmet can never stop the brain from shaking inside the head," Dr. Crutchfield explained.

The last myth: boys get more concussions than girls. Actually, the rates are similar among the sexes but symptoms may vary. Boys experience things like balance problems, while girls suffer fatigue or low energy after a concussion. 

Hollie knows the dangers, but she can't stay away from the game she loves.

"I'm not really afraid to be out on that field because I think that's where I was meant to be," said Hollie.

She hopes to make it through this season injury-free.

Football is the riskiest sport for concussions among males, while soccer is the riskiest among females. 78 percent of concussions occur during games as opposed to at practices.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can occur whenever something causes the head or brain to move quickly back and forth. This could be the result of a blow to the head, a jolt which causes the brain to shake around inside the skull, or many other injuries. In general, concussions are not life-threatening but, a person is at a higher risk of developing serious problems if they have multiple concussions before the brain can fully heal and their recovery time will be longer. (Source: www.cdc.gov)

SIGNS: Common signs of a concussion include things like balance problems, difficulty thinking clearly and sensitivity to noise or light. Typically these symptoms will go away with time and rest, but these signs in adults and children could signify a problem that needs medical attention:

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Cannot recognize people and places
  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Extreme drowsiness or cannot be woken up (Source: www.cdc.gov)

ROLE OF SPORTS: Sports are responsible for many concussions, especially in children and teens. In fact, children and teens are more likely to suffer from a concussion than adults and it takes them longer to recover. Recreational activities such as riding a bicycle and playing on a playground are also activities with a high number of traumatic brain injuries, like concussions. Although it can be difficult to avoid the risk of concussion while playing certain sports, quick recognition that someone has a concussion and time off from playing the game should prevent any serious consequences. (Source: www.cdc.gov)

COMMON MYTHS: There are many concussion myths, but here are a few along with the truth behind the myth:

  • Children recover from concussions at the same rate as adults. – This is untrue. Children and teens actually recover slower than adults.
  • Don't use headache medications because it may hide symptoms. – Taking an over the counter medication for pain from a headache will not cause any further harm and may even be recommended. (Source: www.sportsconcussions.org)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Kevin E. Crutchfield, MD, Director of Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program
Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, MD
kcrutchf@lifebridgehealth.org

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