Concussions are far more common in athletic kids and teens than parents realize, and their child could have had a few concussions without the parents ever knowing.

Many parents continue to be grossly uninformed about concussions. How many parents, for instance, even know that nausea is a sign of a head injury?

The nausea from a concussion can occur hours after the injury, too, but by coincidence, shortly after their teenager ate a lot of French fries and ice cream.

Situations like this could make a parents think that the nausea is from the eating (and it could be), but … a bleed in the brain can produce nausea.

Many kids keep their head bangs a secret, and when they themselves don’t even know that their new-onset symptoms are being caused by a concussion (e.g., drowsiness), this makes it even less likely that the parents will find out what really happened and get medical help.

It’s alarming how uninformed so many parents and others are about concussions.

The myths continue to swirl out there, and not knowing the truth can be deadly.

The following concussion myths and truths come from Chris Hummel, certified athletic trainer and clinical associate professor, Ithaca College’s Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.


Normal CT scan means no concussion.

Hummel says that a neuro-metabolic event, triggered by trauma, causes a concussion.

This involves chemicals, not brain structure. A CT scan cannot detect chemical imbalance. “CT scans can only view structural damage.”

A concussion is worse if you’re knocked unconscious versus not losing consciousness.

Says Hummel, “In some cases, individuals who are knocked out may suffer less severe trauma.”

He adds that a patient need not lose consciousness to suffer serious injury.

My mother had to have two brain surgeries to drain bleeding and fluid buildup after hitting her head, even though she never lost consciousness.

The harder the impact, the worse the injury.

Hummel says, “Any contact to the head or body that causes rapid head movement can cause a concussion.”

He adds that repeated, lighter impacts over time may be more injurious than one impact of great force.

Helmets will prevent concussions.

Hummel says that helmets are “designed to prevent skull fractures, not concussions.” During impact, the brain still moves like jello while the head is helmeted.


A history of concussion makes you more likely to experience another.

This isn’t because you’re more likely to continue contact sports; it means that “the threshold for sustaining another concussion can be diminished,” says Hummel.

Beware of second impact syndrome, in which severe trauma or death can result if one suffers a head blow before fully recovered from the first impact.

No two concussions are alike.

Patients should be treated individually rather than cookie-cutter style.

If you suspect a concussion, assume you’re right and proceed to a medical evaluation.

If your gut instinct says head to the emergency room, then do so.

It’s unlikely that one of the regrets you’ll ever have in life is that of spending time waiting around in the emergency room for test results that turned out to be normal.

Nobody kicks himself for having taken the time to get a thorough medical evaluation that turns up negative.

Concussions are a very real problem in youth sports.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.