1. Did you hit your head? [Yes] [No] [Not Sure]
Sadly, any answer to this question may or may not lead to a concussion. It turns out you don't have to hit your head to experience brain trauma. Energy can distribute through the body, after an impact to the back or some other body part and lead to movement inside the skull that causes the neurometabolic cascade of concussion. In so many of the high speed crashes that we have all experienced, we're left wondering if we did actually hit our head. Or we may not even think about the noggin because our ribs or back or pinkie finger are causing so much pain that it is distracting us from our most precious and fragile of organs.
Guess what, doesn't matter. See #1- you don't even have to hit your head to experience a concussion. That said, helmets are amazing at preventing skull fractures and can certainly do wonderful things for reducing the risk of very serious TBIs like subdural, epidural and intracranial hemorrhage and hematoma, (which are all much more dangerous than concussion and potentially life-threatening). So if you answered that you weren't wearing a helmet, you might be an idiot. Please take an inteligence test immediatley. That said, helmet technology leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to concussion. So just because the pretty helmet is still intact and unscathed, doesn't really tell us what's going on inside your pretty brain.
Above is a list of some potential concussion symptoms. This is not a comprehensive list. You do not need to have any of these symptoms to meet the criteria for concusion. And to further muddy the water, if you are suffering from a recent TBI, odds are that your judgement is impaired and it may be really hard to detect any symptoms.
I started writing this post about a month ago and I almost didn't post it as I've seen numerous articles pop up about the subject and I thought we might be saturated with head injury articles. But then I was at the BME Finals this weekend in Crested Butte where I watched no fewer than 3 racers go over the bars right in front of me. In a small section of just 1 stage of a multi-day enduro. I thought a short, easy to read, write up could be helpful for those of us who like to self-diagnose. Here are links to Pinkbike and Outside magazine's more lengthly articles if you want to read more about how TBI can cause long term symptoms and how CTE is slowly killing athletes.