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What Is Second Impact Syndrome?
Concussions are common injuries from vehicle accidents, violence, and sports accidents. These injuries can range in severity and cause a host of unpredictable symptoms, some of which may impact the victim’s quality of life for months or even years.
A concussion occurs when an external force causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull. This may cause swelling or even bleeding, and the victim may experience unpleasant symptoms for several days, but most concussion victims make full recoveries within a few weeks.
Symptoms of a concussion can include short-term and long-term headaches, personality changes, symptoms of depression, and more symptoms that vary from person to person. One of the most dangerous symptoms is increased susceptibility to future concussions. A person who suffers a concussion can usually receive medical care to make a full recovery. However, Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), is a possibility after any concussion and this condition is almost always fatal.
What Is SIS?
SIS occurs when the brain swells from a concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion subside. For example, an athlete suffers a concussion during practice and receives doctor’s orders to avoid training for several weeks. A few days after his initial symptoms subside, he has a minor car accident that causes a second concussion. If the swelling and other symptoms of the first concussion had not yet subsided, he could experience SIS and die within minutes.
Anyone who suffers any kind of head injury faces a risk of concussion. If you find yourself in this situation and experience any symptoms of a concussion such as confusion, dizziness, nausea, or fall unconscious for any period, seek medical treatment immediately.
The best treatment for a concussion is rest, though a doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to ease other symptoms. Rest serves two main functions: to allow the brain to physically heal from the concussion, and to keep the patient away from potentially dangerous situations that could lead to SIS.
A physician will usually recommend avoiding sports and strenuous activity for an extended time, and he or she may also recommend avoiding driving if possible. Patients should follow these instructions very carefully and use extreme caution during any activity that could lead to a head injury or they risk developing potentially fatal SIS.
Patients who fully recover from their concussions will still have an increased susceptibility to future concussions, so they must use care when deciding which activities to perform following concussion treatment. A second impact may show no visible signs at first and the victim may feel well enough to continue whatever he or she was doing only for symptoms to rapidly worsen within minutes, leading to the victim’s collapse and loss of consciousness.
Concussion and SIS Prevention
While a concussion may be treatable with swift medical attention, SIS can prove fatal within minutes of a secondary impact. Those who are lucky enough to survive SIS usually develop permanently disabling brain disorders. The best method to prevent this is to prevent a primary concussion whenever and however possible.
When playing sports, wear necessary protective headgear and only play in stride with your skill level. When driving, wear a seatbelt and follow the traffic laws to limit both the risk of an accident and your potential injuries in an unavoidable accident. After suffering a concussion, pay very close attention to your doctor’s orders and treatment advice.
Even after making a full recovery, use extra caution for several weeks to several months following the disappearance of your concussion symptoms. It is always best to limit your risk of a concussion at all times and use extreme caution during any activity that could potentially result in a head injury. For additional information regarding securing compensation to help with medical bills, pain and suffering, and the like, speak with a skilled brain injury lawyer in Bakersfield.