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Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

What People Tell Us About Concussion (Part 1)

Dana Tress 
March 1, 2021
What People Tell Us About Concussion (Part 1)

We hear all kinds of things from our clients, coaches, trainers, the public and other healthcare practitioners when talking about concussions and concussion management.  Because new research is coming out so quickly on concussion, there have been many changes and advancements  in recent years in how concussions should best be managed and treated.  At the Balance + Concussion Center, we feel that our job is to educate as much as we can to change the concussion conversation and get us all on the same page.  The quotes below are actual documented statements we have heard from clients, parents, trainers and coaches in the past year, along with our response of how we can educate the public to change to conversation.

Talk About Diagnostic Testing:

“Should I get an MRI or some other kind of test?”

“They said at the ER that my CT Scan was fine, so I don’t really think I got a concussion."

Following an injury in which a head injury is suspected, it is important to have some diagnostic testing performed.  CT Scans and MRIs of the brain following head trauma provide information about potentially serious head injuries, such as a hematoma, or bleeding in the brain.  And while concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, the damage that occurs in a concussion happens at the microscopic cellular level.  Unfortunately, current technology of available diagnostic testing is incapable of showing a concussion.  Diagnosing a concussion, therefore, is based upon the mechanism of how the injury occurred and if there is at least one symptom of concussion present.


Talk About Helmets and Headgear:

“Well, I was wearing a helmet so I’m sure it’s not a concussion.”

Helmets and other protective equipment are an essential, necessary component of a sports uniform.  They help absorb impact to reduce the risk of serious injury.  In the case of helmets, mouthguards and headgear, while they may help prevent getting damaged teeth or a skull fracture, they are ineffective in preventing concussion.  

This is a common misconception, so let’s talk about how that is possible.  The brain is essentially free to move within the skull, as it is surrounded by fluid.  When a bump or blow to the body causes a rapid deceleration of movement of the head and neck, the brain continues to move within the skull (in all directions including rotation).  The force of this movement causes a stretching and shearing of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.  Millions of these neurons begin to fire at once because of this force, resulting in the symptoms we associate with concussion.  There is no piece of equipment out there that can anchor the brain in place within the skull to prevent this concussion phenomenon from happening.


We want to continue the concussion conversation with you!  Contact us any time with your thoughts and questions!

Meet the Author
Dana Tress, PT, CEAS, AIB-CON is a physical therapist specializing in the management of concussion, balance dysfunction, headaches and dizziness in Crystal Lake, Illinois at Smith Physical Therapy Balance + Concussion Center, an award winner in concierge physical therapy services for McHenry County and surrounding regions.