Nobody Really Knows What A Concussion Is

Nobody Really Knows What A Concussion Is

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Experts can’t agree on the definition of the term “concussion,” which makes it difficult to diagnose, treat, and research this important brain injury.

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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI): a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury

Subdural hematoma: a collection of blood between the layers of tissue that surround the brain

Cerebral microbleeding: small chronic brain hemorrhages which are likely caused by structural abnormalities of the small vessels of the brain


If you liked this week’s video, you might also like:

Everything we know about concussions is wrong –


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Credits (and Twitter handles):

Script Writer, Video Director, Narrator: Julián Gustavo Gómez (@thejuliangomez)

Video Illustrator: Sarah Berman (@sarahjberman)

With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Kate Yoshida, Ever Salazar, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg, Arcadi Garcia Rius

Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:



Rasmussen, Carly, et al. “How Dangerous Are Youth Sports for the Brain: A Review of the Evidence.” Berkeley J. Ent. & Sports L. 7 (2018): 67. –

Shen, Francis X. “Are youth sports concussion statutes working.” Duq. L. Rev. 56 (2018): 7. –

Sharp, David J., and Peter O. Jenkins. “Concussion is confusing us all.” Practical neurology 15.3 (2015): 172-186. –

Tator, Charles H. “Concussions and their consequences: current diagnosis, management and prevention.” CMAJ 185.11 (2013): 975-979. –

Whitelaw, A. S., and I. Young. “A case of perilymphatic fistula in blunt head injury.” Emergency medicine journal 22.12 (2005): 921-921. –

Mason, Peggy. “Concussion Is a Counter-Productive Term: Let’s Retire It.” The Brain Is Sooooo Cool!, 5 July 2015,

Haller, Sven, et al. “Cerebral microbleeds: imaging and clinical significance.” Radiology 287.1 (2018): 11-28. –

Goldenbaum, Ellen. “Is It Really a Concussion? Symptoms Overlap with Neck Injuries, Making Diagnosis a Tough Call.” UB News Center, 29 July 2014,

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