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How Concussions Work


Common Causes of Concussions
Concussions can occur under a number of circumstances, and they happen frequently among athletes while playing sports. Staying focused and aware of your surroundings can help you avoid an inconvenient accident.
Concussions can occur under a number of circumstances, and they happen frequently among athletes while playing sports. Staying focused and aware of your surroundings can help you avoid an inconvenient accident.
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Of the millions of estimated instances of concussion that occur annually in the United States, a significant number are sports-related. People of all ages participate in sports to stay active and in good health, but those benefits don't come without certain risks, and among them are the risks of head injury.

Bicycling straddles the realm of sports and non-sports activities -- while many ride exclusively for recreation, in some parts of the world bikes are the preferred mode of transportation. Bicycle accidents are among the top causes of concussions, so when riding, it's important to keep your wits about you. Always wear a helmet, and use extreme caution and maintain keen awareness of your surroundings and fellow travelers while riding on populated thoroughfares [source: Neurosurgery Today].

Motor-vehicle accidents also produce a large number of concussions each year. Today, auto makers design vehicles with safety standards to mitigate the risks of head injuries, but some cars have protective devices that specifically address the threat of front and rear impact while neglecting the sides of cars. Be aware of your vehicle's safety features, and know that the safest vehicles with regard to preventing traumatic brain injuries are those with not only front and rear, but also side airbag systems [source: Baird].

Each year, falling leads to more head injuries than any other activity. With respect to children who are still developing their motor skills, falling is especially dangerous. When kids are concerned, falls are the number-one cause of head injury, so make sure your young ones are well supervised, and when they're playing, be careful of tables and other objects on which they may hit their heads. Falling can lead to a vicious cycle of imbalance -- as a loss of balance can lead to the initial fall, and the ensuing concussion will further impair one's ability to balance oneself [source: Fusco].

Explosions affect a smaller demographic than some of the more common causes of concussion, but unfortunately for people in certain parts of the world, they're a part of everyday life. The U.S. military has done extensive studies and determined that explosions from improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs are responsible for concussions among servicemen and women, and the civilian populations they work to protect. Tragically, these threats are often difficult to predict and avoid, but thankfully, with proper treatment, victims can fully recover from most cases of concussion [source: Lew].

Next, we'll discuss appropriate treatment and possible complications of concussions.


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