Concussion Myths Debunked


Myth or Fact?

  • You have to hit your head directly to have a concussion – FALSE
    • Any force that causes your brain to shake in your skull can cause a concussion (whiplash, or an explosive blast force)
  • You have to be knocked out (lose consciousness) to have a concussion - FALSE
    • Any blow that jiggles your brain can cause a concussion
  • Concussion is just a bruise to the brain that will get better - FALSE
    • Concussion causes chemical and physical change to the brain and impacts your brain function
  • Concussion symptoms appear immediately – FALSE
    • For some victims of concussion symptoms can take hours or days before the symptoms are noted. If you know someone who has had an accident who then begins to show signs of concussion you should seek care for them immediately
  • You should seek medical care if you suspect a concussion – TRUE
    • Anytime a concussion may have occurred medical care should be sought.

Concussions (mild traumatic brain injury) are a common injury in Ontario. A 2019 study in the Journal for Head Trauma Rehabilitation estimated that the rate of concussion in Ontario is 600/100 000 people. The rates have increased over the last few years likely due to heightened awareness and better diagnosis according to the study’s authors.

Common sources of concussion include car accidents, slip and falls, physical assaults, bicycle and skateboard accidents, and workplace injuries. Certain professions are more likely to expose people to concussion risks such as professional athletes and soldiers.

Diagnosing concussion:

Concussion diagnosis in an accurate and timely manner has been a field of research that has been heavily funded over the last decade and remarkable results are now emerging. We have new tests ranging from spit tests to eye movement tests which can help to diagnose brain injury quickly, cheaply and objectively. This removes the incentive for people to minimize their injuries which is a common problem.

Diagnostic imaging such as MRI or CT scans may also be used to determine the extent of injuries.

Early diagnosis and treatment of concussion is key to recovery and in some cases to survival.

How do Concussions Happen?

Concussion occurs when the brain moves inside the skull, bouncing around and hitting the skull. It’s something like jiggling a bowl of jello – when it is moved to violently the jello begins to break down. When the brain is jiggled there are changes inside the brain both physical and chemical and it’s these changes that are the concussion.

We do not understand why brain injuries impact individuals differently, or why some people with a minor blow to the head suffer long-term symptoms, while others do not.

Complications of Concussions:

Concussions can have immediate symptoms or long-term ones. When the symptoms last a long time a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome may be made. Post-concussion syndrome is more common after multiple concussions have been sustained.

Concussion can lead to death.

Signs of Concussion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation and short term memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sensitive to light or sound

What to Do If You Suspect Concussion:

If you see someone who has slipped and fallen, been in a car accident, or in a sporting accident who is behaving oddly, whose condition is suddenly changing, if they lose consciousness or if you know they have taken a blow to the head, you should have them checked out immediately by qualified medical personnel. If they lose consciousness call 911 immediately.

If you’ve sustained a concussion in an accident due to someone else’s negligence call one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Personal Injury Law for a free initial consultation immediately. We will help you get the benefits you need to recover.


Articles by Month of Posting