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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported January 2, 2013

Double Impact Could Be Trouble For Young Athletes


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Concussions are extremely common, especially for kids and even more so for children who play a sport. While concussions may not faze everyone, getting another one before healing completely can lead to devastating consequences. A new report following one particular patient shows how much damage multiple concussions could cause. 
Physicians from the Indiana University School of Medicine conducted the new report in order to gain further knowledge on second impact syndrome, a brain injury in which cerebral arteries widen causing the brain to swell and sometimes herniate. The syndrome is a result of experiencing a brain injury before a previous injury to the brain has healed and can result in serious and long-lasting harm. 
The patient used in the report was a male 17-year-old who played football. The teenager first experienced signs of a brain injury after a hit during a game, although he continued to play and only visited a doctor four days later. 
The patient in the study continued to play football, despite severe headaches and other problems. During hitting drills the day after the boy’s doctor visit, the teenager fell and had a seizure. 
After being taken to the hospital, doctors found that the patient had small subdural hematomas on both sides of the brain and further examination showed cerebral swelling, leading to the diagnosis of second impact syndrome. 
Unfortunately, the football player in the report needed to stay in the hospital for 98 days, during which he experienced multiple problems including brain softening, renal failure, and a short cardiac arrest. Although three years after being discharged from the hospital the patient is now able to talk, he still needs to use a wheelchair. 
While the consequences of this particular case seem extreme, the patient was able to survive which many others who have second impact syndrome do not. 
Overall, this report should emphasize that, “There must not be a return to play if the athlete is at all symptomatic. A normal CT scan will not identify a patient who can be released to play,” report co-author Dr. Michael Turner was quoted as saying. 
Source: Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, January 2013


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