What’s a concussion? How many is too many? What if I hit my head on a door?

An injury suffered by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has put the spotlight on concussions. However, doctors say concussions are a common but little-understood injury in youth sports and everyday life.

(Washington Post illustration/iStock)

When we fall, hit our head or are tackled to the ground, our brain can bounce or twist against the skull. The result is a mild traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion.

The head injury to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, witnessed by millions on prime-time television, has put the spotlight back on concussions in sports. But experts say concussions are an all-too-common injury in everyday life. Overall, about 7 percent of children have had concussions, according to 2020 data from the National Center for Health Statistics. But the risk goes up significantly with age. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, about 12 percent have had concussions. Among adults, 29 percent report having had a concussion.

The Washington Post spoke to neurologists, physicians and others who study and treat concussions to answer common questions about head injuries, especially for children playing contact sports. Here’s what they had to say.

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