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Second Impact Syndrome: What is it and Why is it so Serious?

A concussion is an often debilitating and serious injury, which can leave the victim incapacitated for several weeks, months or longer. If the victim’s concussion remains undetected, or the seriousness of the situation is underestimated, and the individual returns to activity too quickly, they may suffer from something called SIS, or second impact syndrome. This is a type of grave brain injury that can be fatal.

Second Impact Syndrome Explained

Despite what the name suggests, an individual doesn’t have to be hit in the head a second time to suffer from SIS. In fact, they don’t have to be hit in the head at all. A blow to the neck, chest or even a simple fall can trigger cases of SIS. In many situations, the consequences of this are disastrous. Athletes, particularly soccer, ice hockey and football players are the ones who are most susceptible to this type of serious injury.

After a concussion occurs, the brain is much more vulnerable. This is because of its inability to regulate blood flow after being damaged. This can lead to swelling, which is called cerebral edema, or herniation, which is usually fatal. Concussions and SIS are very serious, and many people in the medical community are still trying to determine how to properly treat and prevent the condition.

Diagnosing Concussions

Today, concussions are described and treated very differently than they were 10 to 20 years ago. In the past, people simply stated that someone “got their bell rung,” or would ask the person how many fingers they were holding up. Trainers for various athletic teams (at every level) are much more prepared today to handle concussion injuries than they were in the past; however, it doesn’t mean that they always properly diagnose the situation. Some symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Memory issues
  • Headache
  • Personality changes
  • Disorientation
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Vomiting

While the signs of SIS are similar, they usually include symptoms that are more drastic. For example, loss of eye movement, respiratory failure and a loss of consciousness are not uncommon. If a person displays any of these symptoms, they need to seek medical attention right away. Also, special attention should be given to stabilizing the spine, neck, and head.

Preventing Cases of SIS

Since concussions are most common in athletes, properly diagnosing the injury is essential when it comes to preventing SIS. If a player suffers a head injury and appears disoriented or confused, additional tests need to be done on the sideline as quickly as possible. Trainers need to watch for issues with reflexes, vision, balance and coordination. A CT scan or MRI can be ordered if a concussion is suspected.

If you or someone you love suffers a concussion or SIS, contact an injury attorney right away. If the injury occurred because of someone’s willful act or negligence, you might be able to recover monetary compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney to learn more.  

By | 2017-04-17T15:58:42+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Brain Injury, Personal Injury|Comments Off on Second Impact Syndrome: What is it and Why is it so Serious?