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Busting myths about concussions.

Concussions have become big news as everyone from high school coaches to members of Congress grapples with how to prevent and manage these age-old and unwanted casualties of sport. Suddenly, elite and recreational athletes seem to be experiencing an "epidemic" of head injuries. In actuality, maintains Douglas McKeag, director of the Center for Sports Medicine at Indiana University, Bloomington, physicians are seeing about the same number of concussions as in the past--or perhaps a few more as public awareness grows.

Here are some concussion mythbusters, according to McKeag:

* Helmets do not stop concussions from occurring. They do, however, prevent serious head injuries such as skull fractures and subdural hematomas (bleeding on the brain).

* Tests exist that can tell if a person's brain function is diminished--but not how serious the injury may be.

* Concussions can occur with dramatic symptoms--such as disorientation, loss of consciousness, and photophobia--or without any obvious symptoms.

* There is no way to predict the course of a concussive injury. Each is unique and generally unpredictable. However, neurocognitive testing can help specialists know where someone is in recovery of his or her cognitive symptoms, including memory and executive functioning.

Returning to participation should be done with the help of trained medical personnel, such as a sports physician or athletic trainer. Several states have passed legislation involving concussion management and a law has been introduced in Congress.

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Title Annotation:Brain Trauma
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:227
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