Concussion Facts vs Myths

Brain MedicalWill Smith’s recent movie Concussion- about concussions and the more long-term, controversial idea of “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE)- has created a bit of a stir both in the media and scientific community, for different reasons. According to UAMS neuropsychologist Jennifer Gess, PhD, neuropsychology colleagues and other professionals have already started seeing a related increase in distress and worry about mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., a concussion) with this movie’s release. She adds that unnecessary concern about concussions  has the potential to lead to psychological/adjustment issues and/or unnecessarily prolonged recovery in kids and adults who sustain concussions.

Certainly, neuropsychologists and other professionals are concerned about their patients with a full range of brain injuries, including concussions. However, dissemination of accurate information is important to help allay any unnecessary concerns. As the organization representing psychologists in Arkansas whose purpose is to “advance psychology as a means of promoting human welfare”, the Arkansas Psychological Association presents the following resources to facilitate education and, hopefully, reassurance and well-being.

A recent article was written by Daniel Engber on Slate as a “fact checker” for the Concussion move, as well as addressing some of the media hype surrounding CTE in general. It has received praise from the neuropsychology and other scientific communities. The full article can be read here.

Finally, this document compiled by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources provides the information that individuals need to know about mild traumatic brain injury/concussion, as well as the scientific resources. Dr. Gess notes that it also helps to provide specific information about what to expect and gives patients strategies to support their recovery.