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What is Second Impact Syndrome?

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Sustaining a brain injury can be a truly traumatic event. Brain injuries can have a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to debilitating. According to information provided by the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) include the following, among others:

  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Dizziness;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Fatigue or drowsiness; and/or
  • Sleeping more than usual.

In the aftermath of a head injury, these symptoms may arise and signal that the victim has a potential brain injury. And, subsequently, when these symptoms subside, many victims believe that this means they are fully healed.

This belief can be truly catastrophic, especially for children or adults who play sports and who return to playing before they are completely rehabilitated. Indeed, this puts an individual at risk of second impact syndrome (SIS), a condition that can lead to lifelong disability, or even death.

Second Impact Syndrome in Athletes

Ultimately, SIS is typically seen in young athletes who have already sustained one head injury, and remain symptomatic in some way. It involves the same individual suffering from an additional blow to the head, without having fully healed from the first injury. According to a report published in the Neurology Times, SIS is characterized by a loss of consciousness and, in its most severe form, may lead to death within minutes following the second concussion.

Not all impacts to the head of an individual who is still suffering from a concussion will have such serious effects. But, because SIS has the potential to be deadly, all individuals and parents of children should be diligent when monitoring for the symptoms of a concussion to ensure that they fully recover before returning to original levels of activity.

How to Minimize Risks of Sustaining a Second Concussion

The best way to avoid sustaining a second concussion is by staying away from all activities that may have helped contribute to the first concussion. And, this is often the most pressing in the case of athletes, especially those who play contact sports, who should not return to any form of playing or practicing.

Of course, this can be difficult for many athletes, especially young athletes, who may feel pressure from themselves and from their peers and coaches to return to the field as quickly as possible in order to help their team. In this case, it is up to the parents to decide when their child is fit to play, a determination that should be made with the help of a medical practitioner. And because concussion symptoms can be difficult to detect and are not always readily apparent, extreme caution should be taken to ensure the child is fully healed before they are allowed to return to the field.

Who is Liable for a Child Suffering from SIS?

Ideally, all individuals would be able to fully heal from a concussion before being put at risk of another. However, this is not always the case, especially with youth athletes who are sent back to the field without enough time to recover.

Sadly, it is often the negligent decision of a coach or assistant who demands the child to get back in the game before the healing process has been concluded. This is truly reprehensible, and is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the child, or, in the event of a death, on behalf of the surviving parents. No individual should have to suffer from a second concussion due to the negligent actions of another, and no parent should ever have to see their child injured or killed while playing a game they love.

Let Us Help You with Your Case - Contact our Kentucky Personal Injury Law Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered from the effects of a concussion or SIS due to the negligence of someone else, we are here to help. Our dedicated Louisville personal injury attorneys at the Slechter Law Firm have assisted many brain injury victims and their family members in the personal injury process, and we are eager to help you recover the compensation that you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Don't hesitate to reach out to us today for a consultation by calling (502) 384-7400 (local) or (855) 598-7425 (toll free) or contact us online.

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