In recent years, society has begun to pay more attention to concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). While those involved in football and other contact sports now take concussions more seriously, the general public is still largely unaware of the reasons why brain injuries need to be diagnosed quickly — and why those who have suffered concussions should refrain from any activity that risks further, even more serious injury. One reason is second-impact syndrome (SIS), a condition in which someone who has suffered a concussion faces a high risk of sudden death if they suffer another impact before they have healed.
In a concussion, the brain often loses the ability to regulate pressure in the brain cavity and blood vessels. A second impact, even a small one, before the brain has regained full control can cause severe disability or death. Second-impact syndrome is much more likely to occur in teens and young adults than in other populations. It is most prevalent in those engaged in sports, particularly football, boxing, hockey and wrestling. Because it can be difficult to tell whether a serious brain injury was caused by a first impact or a subsequent injury, this condition is rarely diagnosed.
Even a head injury that seems minor at first can become much more serious over time. Because the symptoms of a concussion are not always immediately apparent, injury victims or those responsible for their care may not take proper precautions. By now, most people are aware that sports leagues such as the NFL use concussion protocols to determine whether players are healthy enough to return to the field. What most people don’t understand, however, is the reason for these protocols: the danger of second-impact syndrome.
If you or a loved one has suffered SIS, it may be due to the procedures or actions of a school athletic program. When coaches or trainers allow players to continue practicing or playing after suffering a head injury, they are putting those athletes at risk. The failure of a school or athletic program to have a proper concussion evaluation protocol can lead to liability in cases of SIS.
At the law firm of Shim & Chang, we represent victims of head injuries and the families of those who have been hurt in the Honolulu area. To plan a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us online or call us at 808-524-5803.
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