What is the second impact syndrome brain injury_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, is one of the most serious and frightening injuries a victim can experience. The gravity of the injury increases significantly when a second concussion occurs shortly afterward.

Second Impact Syndrome, or SIS, is a result of suffering a second TBI before the brain has adequate time to recover and repair from a previous brain injury. In such an instance, the brain swells rapidly causing dangerous bleeding that can cause death or permanent disability. To make the condition even more precarious, SIS can occur days–and even weeks–after the first concussion is diagnosed.

This article is aimed at helping readers understand SIS, as well as what symptoms to look for, how to prevent a SIS from occurring, and what to do if you or a loved one suffers from SIS.  

Understanding Second Impact Syndrome

TBI’s such as concussions can come from a myriad of sources: car accidents, athletic competitions, or simple slip-and-fall incidents. Thankfully, SIS is a fairly rare syndrome. However, this also means that there are relatively few cases to study for the purpose of understanding how SIS effects the brain, and who is at risk.

When a victim sustains a blow to the head, the body responds with physical and chemical changes that engage to protect the brain from massive swelling. During this healing process the brain is more vulnerable to severe complications if a second impact is sustained. If the injured victim receives a second blow to the head while still suffering from the first injury, the brain experiences further swelling, and death can result in a matter of mere minutes. The cause of death is SIS.  

Symptoms

When a victim suffers from a concussion, typically only minor injuries are sustained. Dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea – these are all symptoms of a concussion. The majority of concussion victims can recover in a matter of hours. However, the symptoms of SIS are more severe and can include:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Severely dilated pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Loss of vision
  • Seizures
  • Brain herniation
  • Death

Symptoms of SIS can appear within hours, days or even weeks after the sustained injury. Because SIS is a life-threatening emergency, immediate measures must be taken once symptoms occur.

Preventing Second Impact Syndrome

The most important factor to consider in an effort to prevent SIS is time. Failure to give the brain adequate time to heal after a TBI is vital to preventing SIS. While some victims can fully recover in a matter of days, it may take months for other victims to reach the level at which their brain has fully recovered. In most cases, a qualified medical professional should examine the victim both after the initial injury and in follow up visits afterward.    

One of the most frequent incidents in which victims experience SIS is during sports-related activities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that once a player has sustained an initial TBI, the player only return to any activities after 24 hours or more have passed. CDC also recommends that once a victim has experienced a TBI, immediate medical examination is performed on the victim to assess cognition, balance, and signs of neurological function deterioration. 

The seriousness and complexity of brain injuries such SIS demands professionals who are at the forefront of evolving medical issues. This includes ensuring that if you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury, you engage a qualified lawyer that understands the syndrome and can help determine what important steps need to be taken in your case.

brain injury auto accident Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

If you’re in a serious automobile accident, it’s normal to feel a little out of focus and disoriented at first. But if those symptoms are severe and don’t improve quickly, you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

There are several ways traumatic brain injury can happen in a car accident, like if your head hits the steering wheel or windshield. You can also suffer a brain injury if you’re ejected and your head hits the pavement.

What types of brain injuries are there?

Generally, brain injuries can broken down into two categories: closed head injury and open head injury.

A closed head injury could include the following:

  • Concussions – This is a mild brain injury that involves slight swelling of the brain.  The brain is typically able to recover from a concussion, but not always, and sometimes the concussion can cause brain damage if it is severe.
  • Mass Lesions – This could include bruising (contusions), blood clots (hematoma), and bleeding of the brain (hemorrhaging). All of these put more pressure on your fragile brain.
  • Diffuse Injuries – Diffuse injuries are tiny injuries that are dispersed throughout your brain in different places. They’re often hard to find and can end with brain damage.  

What are the signs of a traumatic brain injury?

Your brain is responsible for the following functions, among several others:

  • Attention and concentration.
  • Processing and comprehending information.
  • Remembering things
  • Communicating with others
  • Planning, sorting, and putting things together
  • Reasoning skills, problem-solving, making decisions, and judgment.
  • Impulse control, patience

If you’ve suffered a brain injury, you might have issues with attention, concentration, talking, comprehending and remembering, or a host of other areas.  

Do you find yourself with any of the following problems?

  • Restlessness, unable to sit still
  • Easily distracted, unable to multitask or finish even one project
  • Issues with talking to people for long periods of time
  • Having trouble coming up with the right word
  • Trouble starting or following conversations or understanding what others say.
  • Rambling or straying off topic
  • Difficulty organizing your thoughts.
  • Trouble with nonverbal communication, unable to show facial expressions
  • Unable to understand or respond correctly to other people’s nonverbal communication.
  • Not understanding jokes or sarcastic remarks

If someone was negligent in causing your brain injury, you are entitled to compensation in several areas. A good personal injury attorney will go after the responsible party for the following, depending on the circumstances of your case:

  • Medical bills, both current and future
  • Rehabilitation and long-term medical care
  • Lost income and lowered earning capacity
  • Damage to your property
  • Pain and suffering

If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury because of an accident, contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.