(01/02/13) - Most of us think about sports injuries when it comes to
concussions, and that is certainly the cause of a great number of them. There
are actually a lot of myths about concussions, myths that could put you or your
child at risk.
Hollie Byer has suffered four concussions over the course of her youth soccer career. "I remember just feeling so nauseous after the game."
The injuries have worried her mom, Anita. "I think about it even before she goes on the field, the night before she goes on the field."
One big myth about concussions is that you have to lose consciousness.
"That's not true at all. You don't even have to hit your head to have a concussion," says Dr. Kevin Crutchfield of LifeBridge Health Clinic in Maryland.
The next big concussion myth is a doosey: if someone has a concussion, you should keep them awake. In fact, sleeping, or resting the brain, is best for healing.
Crutchfield says another misnomer is that everyone who suffers a blow to the heard needs a brain scan.
In fact, he says, 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 O.R. is dramatically less than your child developing thyroid cancer from the exposure to radiation."
You may also think a helmet will help prevent a concussion, but that is not true, either. They are actually designed only to prevent skull fractures.
"A helmet can never stop the brain from shaking inside the head," Dr. Crutchfield says.
The last myth: boys get more concussions than girls. Actually, the rates are similar among the sexes. But symptoms may vary. Boys tend to 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."
Football is the riskiest sport for concussions among males, while soccer is the riskiest among females. Seventy-eight percent of concussions occur during games, as opposed to at practices.
There are no hard and fast rules about how many concussions are too many, but the American Academy of Neurology recommends suspending an athlete's sports season if they suffer three concussions within that season. Some studies point to high long-term risks of cumulative brain damage from multiple concussions.
For more information, here are a couple of sites you can check out:
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