interesting facts about concussions

How the Brain Hurts and Heals: 7 Interesting Facts About Concussions

Concussions are one of the most commonly-discussed injuries in the media today.

As we learn more about the brain, we’ve discovered more and more about how dangerous concussions can be. And we’ve also learned just how many concussions go unreported every year, especially in the sports world.

Because there is so much discussion about concussions and their consequences, you may think you know a lot about their causes and symptoms. But there are some facts about concussions that may surprise you. Read on to learn some interesting facts about concussions that you may not have known.

1. You Don’t Have to Hit Your Head

Everyone knows that you get a concussion by hitting your head, right? That’s why it’s so common in sports and car accidents. You whack your head, and that can cause a concussion.

But you can get a concussion without ever hitting your head. All that has to happen is your head has to move in such a way that your brain collides with the inside of your skull. A good example of this is if you were in a car wreck and your head whipped forward with enough force to cause an internal collision.

2. Concussions Leave Scars

Even though you don’t have to hit your head or have a visible injury to get a concussion, concussions can still leave scars. You may have heard before that having multiple concussions increases your risk of dementia, as well as other mental health risks. The reason for that is that concussions leave scars on your brain.

When the brain is operating normally, there are microtubules that act like train tracks to move proteins back and forth, which is the short version of how the brain works. When you get a concussion, these tracks get broken, and the cargo is dropped, which is why you might experience a lack of function after the concussion. Those proteins pile up at the “drop spot,” which can cause a scar as the brain heals.

3. Concussions Have Been a Major Issue in Sports

This fact may not surprise you as much as there has been a lot of talk in the NFL about reporting and treating concussions over the last several years. But you may not know that people have been concerned about football-related concussions for more than a century.

After eighteen college students died from football-related injuries, President Teddy Roosevelt worked with football organizations to make the sport safer so it could continue.

But concussion-related concerns aren’t limited to only football players. In fact, FIFA soccer has double the concussion rates that the NFL does. The NFL has 0.2 concussions per 1,000 player-hours, FIFA has 0.4, the NHL has 1.5, and boxing has a whopping 13.2 concussions per thousand player-hours.

4. The Symptoms May Take a While to Appear

One of the common myths is that if you didn’t lose consciousness, you don’t have a concussion. Even if you don’t black out or show immediate symptoms, you might still have a concussion. It can take a while for symptoms to show up.

It may take a day or so for symptoms to start showing up. And while you probably know most of the big ones (headache, nausea, disorientation, dizziness, double vision), there are some other symptoms you might see. Sadness, increased irritability, difficulty paying attention, and repeating questions or phrases can all indicate a brain injury.

5. You Can’t See a Concussion

In basic terms, a concussion happens when the brain collides with the inside of the skull, causing damage. But unless there is bleeding in the brain, which can show up on a CT scan, there is no way to see a concussion on any medical tests. Instead, doctors have to rely on a series of tests and assessments to determine if there was damage to the brain.

If you go to the emergency room or urgent care with a potential concussion, your doctor will perform a concussion test. There are twenty-two symptoms they’ll be on the lookout for, but if you exhibit even one, you’ll qualify for a concussion diagnosis.

6. Women are More Susceptible to Concussions

It turns out there’s a little bit of difference in how prone women and men are to getting concussions. Women are slightly more likely to wind up with a concussion than men in the same situation. There are a few theories as to why this is, but scientists aren’t certain about the cause of this.

One of the predominant theories has to do with neck strength. In general, men tend to have stronger necks than women, protecting them from whiplash. If a woman hits her head or is in a car accident, her neck is more likely to snap back, causing a concussion.

7. Helmets Don’t Prevent Concussions

For all the push in the football world for better helmets over the last few years, it turns out that helmets don’t actually do a whole lot to prevent concussions. As we said, the act of hitting your head isn’t what causes the concussion. It’s the way your brain moves inside your skull, and a helmet won’t stop the impact if you bull-rush into a 300-pound man.

So what’s the point of spending so much money on helmet research and development then? While helmets don’t prevent concussions, they can help absorb some shock and prevent other catastrophic brain injuries. Helmets help prevent cuts (cerebral lacerations) or bleeding (intracranial hematomas) on the brain.

Learn More Interesting Facts About Concussions

There’s a lot more to concussions than meets the eye (in both a literal and a figurative sense). They can be dangerous, and it’s important to seek treatment for them immediately. If you think you or a loved one may have a concussion, go see a doctor right away.

If you’d like to find articles with interesting facts about concussions and other topics, check out the rest of our website. At Paldrop, we have hacks for every part of life, from healthy living to safe travel. Check out our bank of interesting facts today.