Myths and facts about concussion

Coach/Teacher, Participant/Parent

May 9, 2018

Concussion is the most common form of head injury caused by an impact or forceful motion of the head or other part of the body, resulting in rapid movement of the brain within the skull.

Concussion can happen when engaging in sport and recreational activities. Learn about some common misconceptions about concussions.

MYTH: If the person was not hit in the head or did not lose consciousness, they do not have a concussion.  

FACT: A blow to the head is not the only way someone can sustain a concussion—a concussion may be caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck, or a blow elsewhere on the body with an ‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head.

Concussions occur from blows to different parts of the body of varying magnitude. A relatively minor impact may result in a concussion, while a high-magnitude hit may not. There is no way to know for certain whether a particular blow will lead to a concussion. Also, most concussions DO NOT include a loss of consciousness. Loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10% of diagnosed concussions.

The types of activities that can cause a concussion include falls, collisions with people or objects, and motor vehicle crashes. Concussions can happen at home, school, or work; or during sports or recreational activities. If there is a history of concussion, even a minor hit to the head or body can trigger symptoms.

MYTH: The person was hit but is totally fine.

FACT: Signs and symptoms of a concussion can be delayed for several hours or even a couple of days following an incident. Following a potential concussion causing event, the person should be observed for signs and symptoms for 48 hours before assuming that a concussion has not occurred.

The Concussion Awareness Training tool (CATT) has more information on concussion. Visit to view a list of symptoms consistent with a concussion.

MYTH: Concussions aren’t a big deal and don’t need a trip to the Emergency Room.

FACT: If the person shows any of the following Red Flag Symptoms call 911 IMMEDIATELY.

  • Neck pain or tenderness
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling/burning in arms or legs
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Deteriorating conscious state
  • Vomiting
  • Increasingly restless, agitated, or combative

To learn more about concussion, visit CATT for online educational modules and resources for concussion recognition, diagnosis, treatment, and management.