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Concussion myths, facts that may surprise you

January 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
As many as 10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sporting season, and young athletes are especially vulnerable. What you don't know about this common injury could put your child at risk.

Dr. Kevin Crutchfield, a neurologist, says there are many myths about concussions parents should know:

Myth 1: You have to lose consciousness to get one.

"That's not true at all. You don't even have to hit your head to have a concussion," said Byer.

Myth 2: If someone has a concussion, you should keep them awake.

In fact, Crutchfield says sleeping, or resting the brain, is best for healing.

Myth 3: Everyone who hits their head needs a brain scan.

In fact, for kids, radiation from a scan can be more dangerous than a head injury.

"Their risk of having a surgical lesion, requiring them to go to the OR is dramatically less than your child developing thyroid cancer from the exposure to radiation," said Crutchfield.

Myth 4: Helmets protect against concussions.

Helmets are designed only to prevent skull fractures.

"A helmet can never stop the brain from shaking inside the head," said Crutchfield.

Myth 5: Boys get more concussions than girls.

Actually, the rates are similar among the sexes, but symptoms may vary. Boys experience things like balance problems, while girls suffer fatigue or low energy after a concussion.

Myth 6: Children recover from concussions at the same rate as adults.

Children and teens recover from concussions at a much slower rate than adults.