WEDNESDAY, Feb. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Sports-related
concussions are common in the United States, but there are many
misconceptions about this type of head injury, according to an
While it's widely believed that everyone with a concussion
requires an immediate CT scan or MRI, concussion damage occurs at
the microscopic level and cannot be seen on MRI or CT scans of the
brain, said Dr. Howard Derman, director of the Methodist Concussion
Center in Houston.
A physical exam is required to assess patients for concussion
signs and symptoms of concussion, which can appear immediately
after the head injury or days later. Signs and symptoms include:
appearing dazed or stunned; answering questions slowly; nausea and
vomiting; sensitivity to light or noise; and an inability to recall
events prior to the hit to the head.
Many people wrongly believe that treating concussion-related
headaches might mask some concussion symptoms. Derman said
over-the-counter pain relievers are fine okay to use in conjunction
with a doctor-approved return-to-activity regimen. In some cases,
prescription pain relievers may be needed.
Another common myth is that a person with a concussion should
not fall asleep even though they may be drowsy. In fact, drowsiness
is a common concussion symptom and getting rest is sometimes the
best thing to do, Derman said.
Getting plenty of sleep and allowing the brain to heal results
in a faster recovery. Family members or other caregivers should
check on the concussed person at least every few hours to make sure
they can be easily awakened, he advised.
Children and teens do not recover from concussions at the same
rate as adults, as was once believed. Because of their ongoing
brain development, children and teens are more susceptible to
serious head injury and post-concussion syndrome, a complex set of
neurologic and psychological disorders that can last for weeks or
even years after the injury and interfere with school, social
activities and relationships.
Another misconception is that concussion causes no long-term
effects. In fact, long-term effects can include depression and
anxiety; blurred and double vision; mental impairment and increased
risk of early-onset dementia.
March is National Brain Injury Month.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
concussion in sports.