Concussions and Second Impact Syndrome

It is not uncommon for accident victims to sustain a concussion. This can occur when the head strikes a window, the steering wheel, or the back of a seat during impact. With time, concussion symptoms may and can resolve.

However, second impact syndrome occurs when the brain has not healed from the initial concussion. If the brain has not healed, a second impact can cause swelling of the brain or hemorrhaging. This in turn can lead to death. Fortunately, second impact syndrome is infrequent. However, it is critical to avoid activities that could cause it to occur.

Most frequently, those who are at higher risk for second impact syndrome are adolescents who participate in sports activities, ride bikes or ATV’s, or use a skateboard frequently as a form of transportation.

Besides participating in sports activities, adolescents are a higher risk group as their brains are still developing. Dave Ellemberg, a neuropsychologist at the University of Montreal stated regarding adolescents that “the frontal lobe areas of the brain, are growing in spurts and when something is developing rapidly it is even more fragile to injury.”

If a child has sustained a concussion outside of school – such as in an auto accident – parents should take appropriate precautions if their children are athletes. Parents, grandparents or guardians should let the coaches and school administrators know if their child has sustained a concussion outside of school or during the summer months. Preventing permanent neurological deficits and second impact syndrome may mean preventing a child athlete from returning to play until they have healed.

The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith specialize in handling claims with serious injuries. If you or your minor child have been involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident, bike accident or were injured in a pedestrian vs. auto incident and need assistance in handling your claim, please contact them for assistance. Their website is:

Photo Attribution: By Usien (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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