Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are all too common in the United States. In fact, they are a contributing factor in 30 percent of all injury deaths and are a major cause of disability.
Sometimes the effects of TBIs last several days, sometimes symptoms linger the rest of someone’s life.
Concussions are most common in girls’ soccer in North America. It’s not just athletes who have to worry about concussions—they can happen to anyone at any age. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries can happen during car accidents, falls at home or just accidentally banging your head on something.
What are the symptoms of a concussion? What can people do to reduce the risk of head injury? What should we do if a loved one is diagnosed with a TBI?
In Episode 56, Dr. G and his guest, Kevin Jackson, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon, answer frequently asked questions about concussions and traumatic brain injuries and share vital facts about symptoms and treatment.
- Kevin Jackson, MD – Board-certified neurosurgeon, Northwestern Medicine; unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant with the National Football League.
Myths vs. Facts
“You can always see a brain injury on CT and MRI scans.” – Myth
A concussion doesn’t have radiographic abnormalities.
“Concussions are not serious.” – Myth
They are serious in the sense that the effects can disrupt a person’s life. While you have the symptoms of a concussion, you can be susceptible to a more severe injury if you have another traumatic event.
“Individuals with brain injury don’t think about suicide.” – Myth
People with traumatic brain injuries have an increased risk of suicide. If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Dial 9-8-8, text GO to 741741 or visit 988lifeline.org.
“Two years after brain injury, no further recovery can be made.” – Myth
Some people continue to recover, but most recovery happens within the first 12 months.
“Only athletes get concussions.” – Myth
Anyone of any age can sustain a concussion.
“Concussions are the same for adults and adolescents.” – Myth
TBI affects kids differently than adults. Any injury to a growing brain may disrupt a child’s development.
“Helmets prevent concussions.” – Fact
Anyone who skateboards or rides a bicycle should wear a helmet.
“If you suspect a student-athlete of having a concussion, assume it’s a concussion.” – Fact
Err on the side of caution.
“A person with a concussion must be taken to the emergency room.” – Myth
If there is a loss of consciousness, yes, as that is a sign of a potentially more severe injury. But if the symptoms are confusion, headaches and lethargy, emergency care isn’t always necessary. If symptoms worsen within hours of the injury, get checked out at the emergency room.
“If someone has sustained a concussion, you should wake them up every hour for the next day.” – Myth
People who have head injuries need to rest. It’s OK to check on the sleeping person, but it’s not necessary to wake them up.
“Children who have suffered a concussion should avoid all screens and digital media.” – Fact
It could take longer for a child to recover from a concussion while watching something on a screen.
Listener healthy OH-YEAH!
“I love 5Ks. It’s my max though. No reason for me to run further than 3.1 miles unless I’m playing a full game of soccer or football, LOL.” – N.J.