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More Attention Being Paid to Concussions and Prevention

Concussions are common injuries in car, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents.These are mild brain injuries that can occur even during a low-speed collision, or even if a person is wearing a helmet at the time. New research confirms that concussions should be taken more seriously than they have been in the past.
Concussions are mild brain injuries that may or may not be accompanied by a temporary loss of consciousness. Symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, and confusion. The concussed person may have difficulty concentrating, learning new tasks, and may also struggle with memory loss.

New research seems to suggest that there are longer-term consequences of mild brain injuries common in bicycle and motorcycle accidents. In the study, scientists compared the performance of persons who had suffered mild or moderate concussions on thinking and memory tests with the performance of persons who had not suffered a concussion. They found a marked difference in the performance of both groups. The persons who suffered from concussions seemed to perform poorly on the thinking and memory tests, compared to those who had no brain injury.

The scores in the group that had suffered a concussion were approximately 25% lower, compared to the group that had no brain injury or concussion. Even more tellingly, about a year later, while the difference in the thinking and memory test scores had narrowed somewhat, the brain injury group continued to show evidence of structural brain damage in their imaging scans.

There are clear lessons in this for drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders. Even if you are involved in a minor collision, you still may have suffered a concussion.Cyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts can reduce the risk of suffering a concussion by wearing a DOT-approved helmet, and taking steps to protect yourself on the roadways.For example, stay visible to motorists around you by wearing neon or fluorescent colors. Obey all traffic laws. As much as possible, avoid riding at night. If you can’t do so, stick reflective tape on your bike, bag, clothes and helmet.

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