Sports concussion is in the news all the time, but the discussions are often filled with misleading or partial facts. Understanding sports and neurology can be a bit easier through knowing a few truths:

A concussion happens when the brain is jarred in some way

A concussion is a brain injury that can happen from a fall, collision, bump, jolt, even a slight blow that happens during a game, practice, ski run or a tumbling pass. Simply put, a concussion happens when the brain receives enough force to move it quickly inside of the skull. The amount of force may not be large, but it could be enough to cause a concussion.

The majority of concussions occur without a loss of consciousness

Our understanding about concussions has come a long way. It’s still a common misconception that a person needs to be knocked unconscious in order for one to occur. An athlete can be concussed with – or without – a loss of consciousness. We now know that the vast majority of concussions happen without a loss of consciousness.

There is no quick, or simple, test to definitively diagnose

Concussions are not as obvious as, say, a broken arm or a twisted ankle. Each athlete can present differently, and sometimes, concussion symptoms may take a few hours to develop. Sideline tests can assist in determining the likelihood of a concussion – but they are intended to be used as one tool as part of a larger examination.

Anybody can get a concussion, at any time

We hear a lot about football and hockey players sustaining concussions from play. But did you know that gymnasts, wrestlers and cheerleaders are also sustaining concussions? All athletes, male and female, of any age, need to be aware of concussions.

Concussion is not an injury that should be “shaken off”

The mindset of many athletes, coaches, and others in sports is that injuries are something to be overcome to prove toughness. Obviously, some injuries like bumps and bruises, are minor and the athlete can continue to safely play through the momentary discomfort. But a concussion is not something to be “overcome” in the name of “toughness”. It must be taken seriously.

See the right clinician for concussion diagnosis and treatment

The best person to help an athlete who may be concussed is a neurologist who specializes in treating athletes. And that’s where The Sports Neurology Clinic comes in. Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, and the Clinic’s staff, are specialists in helping athletes with concussions and other neurological issues.