How To Prevent a Concussion | STACK

Four Simple Tips to Understand and Prevent Concussions

September 20, 2011

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

Concussions are among the most serious injuries an athlete can suffer. NHL superstart Sidney Crosby was sidelined for more than half a season, and former NFL QB Troy Aikman lost his career due to multiple concussions.

Simply put, a concussion is a jarring of the brain caused by a blow or a fall, usually by a collision with a person or a hard surface. Concussions damage the brain. If treated properly, the damage is temporary, but if not, concussions can lead to debilitating long-term health consequences, including headaches, memory loss, behavioral change and even death. Protect yourself—and your game—by learning more about concussions.

STACK spoke with two of the nation’s leading concussion experts, Sports Legacy Institute president Chris Nowinski and Michigan NeuroSport director Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, who provided four concussions prevention tips that every athlete should follow.

1. Wear a Properly-Fitted Helmet
Wearing a helmet is (pardon the pun), a "no-brainer," the obvious first step to preventing a concussion. A good helmet provides a protective barrier for your skull and helps absorb impact that would otherwise be transferred to your brain. However, to be effective, the helmet must be properly-fitted—snug but not too snug; and Nowinski says you must also take other precautions to remain injury-free.

2. Play With Proper Form
Recent rule changes in high contact sports like football and hockey have helped minimize head-to-head contact and prevented players diagnosed with a concussion from returning to a game. However, simply abiding by the rules isn’t always enough. You have to respect your opponent’s health and remember why you play the game. Using proper tackling or checking form—with your head up—is both more effective and less dangerous. “I hope athletes realize that you’re not a hero if you knock somebody out,” Nowinski says. “It’s about winning the game, scoring the most points and walking away from the game healthy.”

3. Know the Symptoms
Contrary to popular belief, less than 10 percent of concussions result in a loss of consciousness, according to Kutcher. If you suffer a blow to the head, make sure you know—and can recognize—the less obvious symptoms, which include headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, ringing ears, vision and memory problems, fatigue and irritability.

4. Seek Help and Rest
Resist the burning desire to continue playing with a concussion. Doing so can drastically impair your performance—and your team's. Repeated concussions increase the severity of the injury and can cause long-term brain damage that could force you out of your sport forever. If you suspect a concussion, find a coach or trainer and be honest about your injury. "You will be better off in the long run," says Nowinski. "You have to take control of your own career and push away that pressure.  It’s better to miss one or two games than try to fight through it and lose your career."

Learn more in our exclusive Concussion Series on STACK TV.

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

That Nagging Hamstring isn't the Problem - 3 Things that are Contributing to Your Recurring Hamstring Injuries hamstring injury pelvic positioning...

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

2 Game-Changing Protective Football Gear Products

Concussion FAQs

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

Protect Your Brain With This Neck Workout

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Train With Shin Splints

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Should Pitchers Ice After Throwing to Prevent Shoulder Injuries?

Play It Safe With the 5 Pillars of Heads Up Football

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

Reducing Concussion Risk in Youth Athletes

Learn From Brian Roberts' Self-Inflicted Concussion

Concussions Are an Epidemic in Women's Sports Too

Wear a Mouthguard to Prevent Concussions

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Can a Mouthpiece Improve Performance?

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Can Wii Fit Help With Concussion Rehab?

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Can Soccer Lead to Brain Trauma?

Protect Yourself With Battle Sports Science Gear

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Four Simple Tips to Understand and Prevent Concussions

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

How to Prevent Common Basketball Injuries

Are Concussions Destroying Football?

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

Concussion Awareness Takes the Stage in Congress

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Female Athletes Need to Watch Out for Concussions, Too

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

Axon Sports Concussion Baseline Testing Giveaway

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

STACK Concussion Awareness and Prevention Series

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Study Finds Link Between Head Trauma and Brain Disease

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

How a Scan May Detect Concussion-Related Brain Disease

Should Women Lacrosse Players Wear Helmets?

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries