Second Impact Syndrome-It’s Deadly!

With fall, contact sports are in full swing (football, soccer, volleyball) and presence of sustaining a head injury/concussion are much greater now than ever due to the talent level of the athletes, equipment worn, and size of the athletes participating now.  Parents, coaches, and players at all amateur levels need to be aware of the dangers of second impact syndrome (SIS). Second impact syndrome, occurs when a player sustains a head injury or concussion and isn’t cleared to go back to play and sustains another hit/impact to the head before the 1st injury healed/resolved itself. Second impact syndrome is a very serious and possibly fatal brain injury with a mortality rate of up to 50%.  Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of head injury/concussion and prevention are 2 keys to limiting this deadly occurrence in your child/amateur athlete.
SIS may result in the athlete feeling stunned, resulting in a possible loss of consciousness, and soon collapsing on the field or sideline soon after receiving the 2nd hit to the head.  Proper evaluation of the initial head injury must be made by a licensed and qualified healthcare professional who has experience treating head injuries to determine the significance of the injury.  Often, because children are competitive and they don’t want to come out, they may react in saying that they feel ok and that nothing is wrong.  This is extremely dangerous and do not let him/her back onto the field if you suspect a head injury.  If you suspect a head injury, then your child is not to return to the field for the remainder of that game, plus at least 24 hours after the injury. Additional re-evaluation must be performed before he/she can return to the field of play. Also, parents and/or coaches should monitor the athlete closely for any changing symptoms (vomiting, not eating, headaches, vision changes to name a few) over the next 24-48 hours.  Taking these steps will ensure the athlete recovers properly and allows him/her to get closer to returning.
If you suspect that your child has sustained a head injury, please have him/her evaluated as soon as possible and don’t let them go back onto the field before it’s too late!
 Stay tuned to next month’s blog! Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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