Common Causes of Concussion

Common causes of Concussion

Concussions can occur in a number of settings. Understanding the common causes is crucial for prevention and early intervention.

Mechanism of Injury

Concussions can occur due to several different mechanisms each with unique challenges in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. These include:

  • Direct Impact to the Head
    • Such as from a fall or collision
    • Causes the brain to forcefully collide with the inner walls of the skull.
  • Acceleration-Deceleration forces 
    • Commonly seen in car accidents and whiplash injuries.
    • Causes the brain to shift, stretch, or rotate within the skull. 
  • Rotational Forces
    • Often encountered in high-impact sports like football or boxing. 
    • Rotational movement causes shearing and tearing of nerve fibers in the brain. 
  • Blast Injuries 
    • Explosions or blasts such as in the military or industrial accidents. 
    • These can generate shockwaves that propagate through the brain tissue. 

Sports-Related Injuries

Participation in sports, particularly contact sports like rugby or football, is a significant cause of concussions. Collisions, falls, and impacts with equipment, or other players can result in head injuries. Proper training, use of appropriate protective gear and adherence to safety protocols can help reduce the risk of concussion in sport


Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and other motor vehicle collisions frequently result in concussions. The sudden deceleration and impact forces involved in these accidents can cause the head to strike against hard surfaces or objects. Wearing seatbelts, using child safety seats, and avoiding distracted or impaired driving are essential for preventing head injuries in motor vehicle accidents


Assaults and Violence

Intentional acts of violence, including physical assaults and domestic abuse are unfortunately significant causes of concussions. Blows to the head, punches, kicks, or other forms of physical violence can result in traumatic brain injury.



Falls are a leading cause of concussion among older adults and young children. Slipper surfaces, uneven terrain, cluttered environments, and impaired balance can increase the risk of falls and subsequent head injuries. Taking measures to improve home safety, such as installing handrails and removing trip hazards as well as completing balance exercises, can help to prevent falls and reduce the risk of concussion


Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

Bicycle accidents and pedestrian collisions are significant causes of concussion. Failing to wear helmets while cycling or engaging in risky behaviours as a pedestrian, such as crossing streets without looking both ways, increases the likelihood of head injuries. Wearing properly fitted helmets and following traffic rules can help prevent concussions in these scenarios.


Recreational Activities

Engaging in recreational activities such as surfing, skateboarding, skiing, or horseback riding can also lead to concussions. Wearing helmets and protective gear, receiving adequate training, and adhering to safety guidelines can help to minimise the risk of head injuries during recreational pursuits.