Understanding Mountain Bike Concussion

Understanding Mountain Bike Concussion

– Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t switch over, you haven’t accidentally tuned into GCN. I know I spend most of my life poncing around in Lycra over there. But deep down, I’m a
mountain biker as well. So today, I’ve got a guest pass to come onto GMBN and to talk
concussion and mountain bikes. Concussion in sport is becoming
a massive issue recently. Some of the world’s biggest contact sports are having to come to
terms with just how serious hitting your head actually is. But as mountian bikers, we can experience concussion as well. Especially when you fall
off as much as I seem to. Which is why I’ve been invited by POC to come to Sweden to
talk to Per Hamid Ghatan, M.D. PhD, to find out
more about concussion. Besides being a leading expert in head trauma and brain injury, Ghatan, who has specialized
in the rehabilitation of patients with brain
injuries since the late 80s, is also a member of the POC lab. The POC lab is a collective of experts from various industries that take a holistic approach to safety to advise POC on the products they produce to ensure they’re the
best they can possibly be. This makes Ghatan the perfect person to ask a few questions about concussion. So let’s start at the beginning. What then, is concussion? – [Ghatan] Concussion is
where you have an impact that transmits energy through
the skull into the brain. – [Presenter] And if you think you have suffered a concussion, what are the symptoms? – If you have a head injury
and you sustain a concussion, you find you have a
headache, you might be dizzy, you might have nausea, you
might be light sensitive, sound sensitive, problems
in focusing your attention, also fatigue and fatigue ability problems. – [Presenter] But recent high-profile and sadly tragic stories around sports injuries have put the issue of concussion and its related
chronic long-term conditions under a fresh spotlight. And it isn’t as simple or as
trivial as we all thought. – Up til now, we have had
the view that 85% recover within three months and 15%
have developed chronic symptoms. But the challenge today is that, actually, when we look into statistics and actually the investigation of
patients after concussions, indicates that there are more
people having chronic symptoms than we thought earlier. So we need to reevaluate concussions, that they might be more severe. You know, because I meet
a lot of colleagues now that are working with sports and the challenge of concussions. And in some sports, the person who has sustained a concussion, he wants to go, or she wants to go back straight to the race. But it’s obvious that the person
is not functioning properly so it becomes a conflict
between the individual who wants to continue based on whatever, you know, competitive people. It’s in American football. I mean, they have been neglecting the problem for years, right? And hockey, this has been underestimated. But there are more sports, like handball, also more across motor
scooters, et cetera, that there is a problem in sports. So I think that today’s thought leaders, when it comes to handling
it, is in sports. And we need to provide them with better tools to monitor concussions. And through that, also develop better assessment methods than we have. – [Presenter] If you
suffer from a concussion, how long can it last for? – Because most people think that, if you have an impact, Bang! And it’s over. But that’s not reality. The impact, the energy transmitted through the brain triggers
a lot of mechanisms that can continue for days, weeks, months, without having, you know, without any sharing of the tissue, which with the consequences
of having a hemorrhage, or sort of bleedings
or anything like that. – [Presenter] Most mild
concussions will resolve in a couple of weeks to a few months. But more severe concussions can lead to longer term, chronic issues. If you’ve had a concussion
and you’re suffering from any of the symptoms
that can affect balance, reaction times, and other
cognitive abilities, it’s best to stop riding and go and get properly checked out. And if you are concussed,
make sure you give yourself plenty of time to properly recover. – People are not really aware
of how to handle themselves and also the relationship
between the symptoms that they have and what they’re doing. So people return too early back to work or to studies, and they push themselves. And then they develop some
sort of fatigue syndrome which might be like a
fatigue depression, actually, where the symptoms increase. And research today is looking
a lot at that concussion, might trigger an inflammation
that continues over time. And with behavior interacting, especially if you’re not considering that you need to be active in intervals, considering having some sort of rest. Not pushing yourself beyond the threshold where symptoms increase, but actually you should be active at an optimal level rather than at a maximum level. People push themselves,
and then they just see this kind of stress
affecting the consequences of the concussion, that might actually make it more chronic. – [Presenter] As mountain bikers, we balance risk and reward every time we head out for a ride. But sometimes that
balance can tip too far, and we’ll have a big off. Most of us have. We’ll get up, shake it off, and then probably think nothing more of it. But if we have hit our head,
is that really the end of it? – [Ghatan] If you have had a concussion and have recovered, you
should be precautious, because if you have another concussion, it might add up. So even if you have a light
concussion the second time, the consequence of having two might make the consequences much, much worse. So, I mean, we should be active. I’m not, in any way, talking
against that, the opposite. But we need to be aware and
use protective equipment to minimize the risk. I think that’s the most important. And then through design,
making it attractive in using protective measures. – [Presenter] Making
it look cool so people actually want to wear it. I mean, I managed to,
together with a colleague, make a, you know, influence the politician
administrator in Sweden to actually legislate for
bicycle helmets for kids. Because I’ve seen the consequences. The price is too high for people. And so, you know, 20, 30 years ago, the people, their argument would be that, “Oh, it affects my hair,
you know? My haircut.” I mean, the brain is a super hard disk. It’s all there, right? So you need to take care of it. And if people are aware of
how sensitive the brain is, I know that people start
using protective equipment. And in Sweden, we see,
especially with the commuters, we see that they have
increased using helmets. So, I mean, the stupidity
is somewhere like in boxing, where you actually aim at hitting
the head of somebody else. I am against that. It might be an excellent
way of exercising. But, you know, don’t
give repetitive violence to the head because, yeah. “I was a great sportsman,” you know, an athlete like Muhammad
Ali, for instance. But, you know, the
price they pay later on. And we know that, when it
comes to severe brain injuries, 50% of them have amyloid plaque, which is what you see in Dementia. So what are the long term consequences? You might have had sustained a
head injury with a concussion or a moderate head injury
when you were in your teens. But 20 years later, – [Presenter] That plaque is still there. – And so far, the healthcare
system is not monitoring that. We are not, we have, in Sweden, we have these kind of quality, we collect data, and we
follow people, so far, when it comes to head
injuries, up to 15 years now. And we see that people
improve, which is important. But I have been working 30 years and I see that people
have actually deteriorated with something called Cognitive Decline. So you might actually,
having head injuries, you might decrease your
buffer capacity of your brain, in having a lifelong, you know. If you develop dementia in the age of 70 like some of the Swedish boxers. Was that because they were boxing when they were in their twenties? It’s hard to tell, but why take the risk? – [Presenter] Of course,
mountain biking isn’t boxing. No-one is repeatedly punching your head each and every time we go out for a ride. But crashes can, and do, happen. And research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risks of serious
head injury by nearly 70%. It’s no surprise then,
that the expert advice is that wearing a helmet
is an important way to prevent a concussion. But just as important is knowing and riding within our
abilities, the terrain, and being free of distractions. At the end of the day,
it’s simply a case of minimizing risk for maximum fun. Which is, after all, a
big part of why we ride. I found it absolutely
fascinating spending the day with the experts from POC, learning so much about an
injury that I had years ago. If you’ve got a concussion
story you want to share with us, drop it in the comments below. I’m off to find my Lycra.

100 comments on “Understanding Mountain Bike Concussion

  1. Anton Lanzl Post author

    just for protukol yesterdy i had a big crash where i defenilty hit my backhead hard but i weared a poc coron spin helmet , big thanks to poc and ortema for making that good protection,and i am not feeling any pain in my head god deam lucky. big thx to all the peopel who designed the wwell working protection

  2. Blue Line Rider Post author

    just had one myself this year.. not nice. so hard to manage something cant see.. so hard to do brain rest by not doing anything . unreal

  3. Leo Molloy Post author

    This video is way to scarily relatable for me. I have had two mild concussions over the last 3 months that have driven me crazy. I have horrible short term memory now which i have no clue weather it is going to improve and on top of that no one seems to certain as to whether it's safe to be back on the bike. Does anybody know more about the stress issues he was talking about (4:30) because I think I might have them? Concussions are really serious now that I'v had to deal with two of them and I advice everyone to invest in an overkill helmet with actual research put into it because I don't know If I trust my Bell super DH anymore.

  4. RAID i/o head Post author

    I like everything being said in the video, but I'd want to add one more thing: dont't buy non-MIPS versions of helmets anymore. The Virginia Tech university does independent crash tests of bike helmets and has made a top list that you can view online (go to: helmet.beam.vt.edu, then select bicycle). In their tests all the top scoring helmets have either MIPS or Bontrager Wavecell technology. These don't have to be expensive, some cost less than 100$ dollars and outperform 200$ POC helmets without SPIN technology. I'm not saying all MIPS helmets perform good, you'll have to check on their website, but in general these helmets offer way better protection. I kinda wish this was mentioned in the video or maybe GMBN can mention Viriginia Techs research in a future video. This way, many viewers will be informed of this safety rating. Otherwise people have no way of knowing how safe a helmet is before they buy it. A positive thing is that the top scoring helmet only costs 75$ and shows that safe doesn't have to mean expensive!

  5. Derek Smith Post author

    Dave Mirra, BMX freestyle and x games hero had so many concussions that it was the reason he committed suicide, it is a real concern for bikers and awareness must be a part of our sport. Thanks GCN for bringing attention to this sad part of cycling.

  6. kerry powell Post author

    Had a big one yesterday, front wheel folded and I hit the floor before I could leave Go of the bars. Little headache today, my shoulders and ribs though, that’s another story. I was debating full face or trail lid, so glad I opted for the full face. Thank you 100%. Other brands are available ?

  7. White Rose Adventures Post author

    I had a nasty OTB on my mountain bike 2 months ago, I got diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion as well as a lot of other injuries. My broken bones are just about healed but as a result of the concussion I have been suffering with BPPV :s

  8. Jim Drake Post author

    Had one about 8yrs ago I got knocked out, only for a few seconds ,put up with intense headache for a week before I went to my doctor he sent me staight to hospital.The doctor I saw there went completely mad at me for not going immediately, luckily for me all the scans and test came back ok .He said my helmet had done it's job . DON'T BE A DOUGHNUT WEAR A HELMET

  9. Abram Pousada Post author

    Just speaking from personal experiences… Wear your brain buckets! And wear good ones too if you can, please — although something is always better than nothing, it's often a case of "you get what you pay for" when it comes to protecting against concussion (and not just superficial wounds).

  10. Leo Pritschke Post author

    I have a question is it better to drive a wheelie with a hard or soft damper?? And nice video ?

  11. sitonka Post author

    Most important info for MTB at the end, ride within your abilities and don't take unnecessary risks. Send it culture with advanced/pro riders making things look easy with their skills is hard to resist the urge to push it.
    But, we all do. The buzz of landing a newer bigger gap or trick is why we take chances? Faster, higher, further, (obvs with more roost) All we can do is protect our bonces with higher quality helmets. @gmbn Maybe it's time for a name and shame video of the brands and models to avoid? Won't be popular but if it stops one serious injury it's worth it right? Or some things to look for when buying helmets for more advanced riding? We all try to balance safety with economy as not everyone can afford a POC helmet. Especially not for every member of the family.
    Great vid, again (even though presented by roadie!) Made me think about concussion a lot more, so one score there.

    Hey, at least we are not boxing, it could be worse!!

  12. bob bobby Post author

    My mate went over the bars and broke his neck, he was partially paralysed and comitted suicide a year later.
    I guess its far too much to ride with a neck brace..but Id like to see some advice how how to build up your reactions to ensure you automatically protect your neck when over the bars faceplanting.

  13. Never Go OTB! Post author

    Great video about a very important topic! To be aware of the danger of head injuries and knowing the symptoms and longterm issues is important for every rider. This video explains all of this really well and quite indept. Good work!

  14. b S Post author

    Some new info: if you get a concussion you need to shut down for at least 5 days, no t.v. internet, or anything that uses brain power..darkened room..just rest

  15. Tom Easton Post author

    Literally yesterday got into an accident. Slammed my head against the ground. Luckily I was wearing a helmet otherwise it could have been a very different story. Thankfully now I'm only dealing with roadrash and bruising. I've been saved by cycling helmets twice in my life now. Always wear a helmet.

  16. Charles Talhelm Post author

    I'm skeptical about the claimed protective benefits of a helmet. Even the new technologies like MIPS probably shouldn't be talked about as if they'll protect you from smaller concussions. Instead, it should be said that they're just better than nothing. I wish I could find the article, but there was a study of snowboarders and head injuries which appeared to show that helmets really only protected against cosmetic damages and didn't significantly reduce brain trauma. In other words the concussive impacts still transferred through the helmet enough that it didn't matter, and it really doesn't take much force to cause an injury. It's probably true that MIPS and wavecell do help disperse forces better, but I'm doubtful that these should be considered adequate prevention of injury rather than (once again) better than nothing.

  17. Jason Horton Post author

    Just to be clear helmets cannot stop concussions, however they can stop you splitting your skull open so wear one and check yourself out if you fall off with one on because you can still be concusses

  18. Ian Lemke Post author

    Great video, but first statement is not so accurate. Non impact crashes where the brain can strike the inside of the skull and traumatize the brain even without the skull coming into contact with anything

  19. Michael Froslie Post author

    #askgmbn can helmets without mips still protect your head. Are there helmets out there to avoid getting. And should one get a neck brace if they get a full face helmet. Finally can a cheap helmet work or should one always invest into a higher end product like poc

  20. a Milling Post author

    As someone who got a concussion little over a month ago, it fucking sucks.

    You look completely fine, but can't do shit.

  21. Adrienne Wrn Post author

    Dump the bike if you have time to react and feel like you’re about to wreck. As much as it hurt financially, I avoided a much worse wreck by ditching and letting the bike take the damage. I was able to mitigate my injuries by controlling my landing. I’d rather have scars than an injury that will keep me off the trails permanently.

  22. kakihara111 Post author

    My front wheel slipped on damaged road which had a small edge while turning directly into my work place. Was on my gravelbike and was wearing a 2nd generation Met Parachute. Despite riding at about 20km/h or so while turning I broke the radius head in my ellbow, my cheekbone and my eyesocket. I dont remember how it exactly happened. Got a connuction too. The main symptom I noticed was that I was often extremy tired weeks after. I like to believe that without a full face helmet it would have been much worse. I can really recommend those for city riding. Replaced it with a Fox proframe. Sadly I can't use it on training rides on the road because I need to be able to drink and eat while riding.

  23. Migatron1 Post author

    Next week: Understanding Mountain Bike Concussion while riding a Mountain Bike with a Concussion which was caused by watching the Understanding Mountain Bike Concussion video while riding a Mountain Bike trying to avoid a Concussion

  24. Kevin Smith Post author

    Great video, very informative and very important to all people. I see so many people on my commutes to from work not wearing helmets or wearing them improperly it is scary. I will not get on bike with out a helmet, I have had that philosophy for over 30 years. I like say “ I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, so I don’t have to wear a helmet every day if I don’t.

  25. Samuel Pearsall Post author

    As a radiographer working in a trauma hospital in Australia, and receives a significant amount of cyclists and mountain bikers post fall, thank you for highlighting the significance of concussions and what the industry is doing to minimise it ?

  26. Beechy 02 Post author

    This is very interesting, could we see a video on how to keep your bike safe in terms of storage and locking techniques so on

  27. Bobbi Metcalfe Post author

    I’m so glad you made this. My injury was a severe TBI instead of a mild one, which concussion counts as, but my helmet saved my life. I have permanent damage, and I relearnt a lot, but I lived to ride again! Wear your helmets!

  28. The Trail Cat John Molinari Post author

    Gotta risk it for the biscuit I guess but definitely risk it while wearing the proper protective gear.

  29. Michael Stewart Post author

    I washed out on the first corner of the first run of the day at skyline rotorua which resulted in a mild concussion, my advice is learn the grip before riding fast.

  30. LisaPet Post author

    5:35 I was waiting for this words. The only thing I'd add or correct is not to use "add up", repetitive brain injurries synergize, though the MD elaborated it later. He elaborated it even before talking about inflammation, which goes wild after the second impact.

  31. LisaPet Post author

    You can get concussion even without direct impact at your head: any fall, especially hard, must be assessed for the possible consussion.

  32. pro mod steve Post author

    Great vid. Got me thinking, Like everything else in life there are a ton of options when it comes to buying anything. There are many helmet manufacturers with MIPS and versions like it and are certified or pass a test. Is there a thresh hold in testing helmets where they pass a test or way surpass the expectations of said test and are way above the rest? I guess my question is because a helmet has MIPS it is the best regardless of manufacturer?

  33. jendralhxr Post author

    I expect fail-and-bail clips for B-rolls, not Blake shredding. I am mildly disappointed.

  34. Cearo Post author

    One time at my local pump track I basically cased a double with just my back tire and it bounced forward making me go over bars, landing on my face with it scraping on the ground , and then my bike landing on my leg. I kept falling over randomly and I don’t remember anything from the start of the crash to the next day. I only know how I fell because my brother saw me fall.

  35. guyd4067 Post author

    Yep, twice as a youth playing Rugby, three times (one bad) from cycling, in the last 5 years – those were all whilst mountain biking.

  36. Cliff J Post author

    Great awareness vid! My 2 Bontrager MIPS helmets have saved me and my friend from serious head injuries. Always wear a helmet, especially with MIPS.

    Nice to see Chris Opie on GMBN. Still need to see proof that he can ride a MTB.
    So…How Hard Can Chris Shred… ?

  37. DOMINIC ADAMS Post author

    More Okie, Olly, and Si on GMBN! More Neil, Doddy, and Blake on GCN! It’s biking, let’s be a family!

  38. Neil Cheshire Post author

    Great video! Just took a bit hit yesterday and broke my collarbone. Always wear a helmet!

  39. Will S Post author

    I got a concussion from water polo and i was out of school for a month. My balance and focus and things like that were way off

  40. HarrisonWilli961 Post author

    I’m 14 and I recently got a concussion playing AFL. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to go Mountain Biking for ages so I did hours of research but never got a proper answer. This video helped me out and it’s a no brainer that you should always wear a helmet.

  41. Lars Mathias Stoltenberg Post author

    Went to Trek World in Karpacz in Polen with a collegue. He crashed hard testing the 2019 Slash 9.9, shattered his helmet (lightweight road helmet), and we had to carry him down the mountain for 40min until we got cell service to call mountain rescue. This is 9 months ago, and his still only working 70% and is easily fatigued and gets headaches all the time. Walks around work with a noise canceling headset all the time to block out noise.

  42. Colin Fisher Post author

    As a head injury therapist I can't agree more with the information in this well presented video. Will be recommending some of my clients watch this. Still amazes me that British cycling still produces videos of cyclists without helmets when the advice is clear on the reduction on the consequence after a head injury. Thanks GMBN keep it up.

  43. Christian Jensen Post author

    I cracked two helmets within a month. First time I had headache for a few days afterwards, second time just walked away with no pain. Helmets saved my day. I haven't hit my head before or after that so even though you think you'll never fall that unlucky you just might. Wear helmets! Messed up hair is the new thing ?

  44. Stuart Woodburn Post author

    I have had a crash in 2011 which cut my nerve to right inner ear and a concussion and whiplash. I had some treatment but was never got advice, I did what describe in the video and carried on riding, since then I had 3 more concussions. I came in August because concentration problem and broke my arm tried riding again last Tuesday and fell off. It being taken seriously now but this a great video to high light the problem, I will never be able to work or go out because of the symptoms described in the video so take care people!

  45. hasse birkmose Post author

    Knocked my self out on a tree one year ago and i am still not 100% – ridiculous waste of time and life…

  46. Stuart Green Post author

    Jerry quarry was a great professional boxer who can't remember how to tie his shoes. Literally. Look him up. I concussed 50 years ago at 13 and again at 27, now 64. I think I have consequences from those 2 incidents.

  47. Paul Bent Post author

    2 From rugby while in school
    1 from road bike commuting (crashed into the back of a van)
    2 from motorcycle crashes
    2 from falling off the mountain bike
    and 1 from playing squash

    Admittedly all over a span of 30 years but I am sooo f*cked!

  48. Brian Kirwan Post author

    Great video! A helmet has saved my life mountain biking. Better trashed helmet then a dead head

  49. maddingo Post author

    lol.. channel that routinely shows "sends of the week" / "fails and bails".. / expert pro riders doing huge jumps / tricks .. now tells me to not crash / ride within my skill / comfort level..

    I mean.. no worries for my part ..I'm 49yrs old with arthritis and a variety of previous injuries.. I'm pretty determined to keep the rubber side down at this point..

    years ago a helmet clearly saved me from serious injury or worse… messing about on paved embankment in the wet back tire washed out on some leafs or whatever and went down 20~ft or so I could hear the back of my helmet bouncing off the concrete the whole way down.. must of been 8~times or so.. thank god it wasn't my skull bashing into the concrete the whole way down.

  50. Colin Thompson Post author

    I have had concussion a number of times, but had much worse non-cycling injury resulting in a TBI. That’s a traumatic brain injury. I worry about long term consequences, and struggled after it with awful fatigue and inability to cope properly with some emotions and empathy, I also lost around a months memory previously. My deep regret was not getting better treatment and crucially rest. I was chronically fatigued but forced myself harder into work. Subconsciously this was my brain avoiding complexity like emotions and falling into understood patterns like work. I never gave myself chance to fully heal, and the fatigue was a message to rest, not doing so hindered my recovery. I still don’t fully always feel the same, and this is a long winded way of saying ride hard, wear a helmet, and if you do get a concussion seek medical attention ASAP even if you don’t think you need it, rest, rest and rest, and let you loved ones know what has happened, they may spot things you don’t realise. In UK there is a great group called Headway, top guys. Hope this gets shown on GCN as well, tricky subject handled well.

  51. miguel padilla Post author

    Thank you for this, not enough videos about the subject..and yes ive had a few and ive never been to the dr for them but i sure can tell some side effects from it

  52. Septem / Andrei Pascu Post author

    That's really great info. All mtb riders should see this video, this is really important, I had no idea about the symptoms. Thank you poc you rock

  53. Kim Miller Post author

    I got severe concussion just over two years ago. I was hallucinating the first 12 to 24 hours in hospital and became hyper sensitive to noise and light. Even the conversation level of the other patients in the ward was impossible for me and I had to go walking down the corridor to get away. The normal hospital noises made the place sound like a factory.

    After three days the doctor was prepared to discharge me if I had somebody looking after me – I'm widowed and live alone. So friends had me in their spare room for another week – it took that long until I could hold a normal conversation. They said my conversations were all over the place until then.

    Two years later and I still have problems with concentration and motivation. I used to write books but have not even read a book since the injury. I can get through a YT comment like this, that's about it.

    Trying to find somebody who knows how to deal with concussive brain injury in my city has proved impossible. I made contact with the medical research centre but all attempts to contact the brain injury people went unanswered.

  54. Channel Zero One Post author

    I still dont understand the long term effects. He went on and on about there may be long term symptoms, but he did not actually say anything about what they are. GMBN you guys need to go back to your roots when your vids were to the point without this vague BS. This is so effing vague. What consequences? The content quality has been so vague this year.

  55. Henry Fox Post author

    I did half a front flip and landed on my head on a 6ft double and wearing a helmet protected me enough just to get a mild concussion.

  56. RMPT Physio Post author

    Great stuff GMBN. Will you be following this up with some more info on how to recognise concussion and more importantly what to do if you think you have one? Maybe get EWS or Downhill medico/physio staff to give some tips on how they triage and treat and how the average punter can do something similar if their mate smacks their head. Helmets are awesome but they're only part of the story.

  57. josh gent Post author

    Completely agree and having had a few head injuries and concussion I always get the best helmets. But still have to ask why the best protective helmets still cost so much?
    I know all (most) helmets have to meet the same basic safety standards but why are companies, POC being one of the worst, charging so much to protect our heads when we have to replace the helmets every time we hit our heads.

  58. Bob Mc Billen Post author

    This is the story of how I got a concussion resulting in retrograde amnesia

    Me and my friends live in a small village out the back of a small town in nz and there are a few hills around us that we go and make trails and session there are Benches and tabletops big boulders logs and fast short tracks to ride all made up by our imagination one day it was just my brother and I out and I came down a hill that tooled on to the ones street in the village my front wheel got caught in the gutter this is coming off a 85 degree slope and I went otb landing on my head with lots of speed I mocked myself out for about 30 seconds than came to but I don't remember anything for thr 3 hours it took for the ambulance to come I had gathered the whole village there and thay where all looking after me I don't remember any of the 3 hours waiting or about 10 mi it's before the crash I am also a sailer and I wasent abel to do Eather sailing or mtb for 4 months and then only very coutiouly because of my conclusion the the respective rotrograde amnesia it gave me I'm all back now and shredding like I used to


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