What Parents Need to Know About Secondary Impact Syndrome (SIS)

A Young Teenager Looking at Head ScansAs if your child suffering from a concussion from playing sports isn’t stressful enough, you don’t want to have to worry about what will happen if they suffer a head injury again. But even if they seem fully recovered, subsequent concussions shortly after the initial injury can pose serious life-threatening complications for your young athlete.

What You Need To Know

It is vital that all athletes, parents and coaches know the signs and side-effects of concussions so they can help protect against what is called secondary impact syndrome (SIS). Secondary impact syndrome involves an athlete suffering post-concussive symptoms following a head injury and then experiencing another subsequent head injury before they have recovered from the first. If within days or weeks, the athlete returns to play and suffers a second head injury, cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and even death can occur. It is important to note that neither impact needs to be severe for SIS to occur.

Once you sustain an initial concussion your brain is in a state of vulnerability and if a second impact occurs, even if it is minor, the impact can have devastating effects. SIS can occur with any two brain injuries that happen before the brain has a chance to heal from the first injury. It can be two impacts in the same game or impacts that are a month apart as long as the initial concussion has not yet healed.  Therefore, being aware of the first concussion is very important.

Be Aware and Prepare

It is important that not only coaches, but parents are aware of this syndrome and can counsel athletes about not returning to play after being suspected of having a concussion. Young athletes are at the highest risk for SIS and it is important that concussions be promptly identified and the athletes recovering from concussions be allowed to fully heal before returning to play.

We wrote The Layman’s Guide to Brain Injuries in order to provide easy-to-read and useful information for parents, coaches, and for those that have suffered from a head injury. We know that concussions are technical, complicated matters that need expert care and advice. If you or a loved one has been wrongfully injured and has suffered a concussion don’t hesitate to contact us at 727-446-0840. We are here for you.

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Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.