Beware of 'Second-Impact Syndrome' After
SUNDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Young athletes who return to
play before a concussion fully heals and sustain another head
injury can suffer serious and potentially deadly brain
complications, an expert warns.
Athletes under age 25 are especially vulnerable to
"second-impact syndrome," according to Dr. James Kinderknecht, a
sports medicine and shoulder service physician at the Hospital for
Special Surgery in New York City.
But there are ways to prevent a subsequent injury, including
knowing the signs of concussion. These include headache, dizziness,
irritability, mood changes, vomiting, changes in vision and hearing
and difficulty following instructions.
If young athletes have any of these symptoms in the hours or
days immediately after a head injury, their physical activity
should be restricted until they're evaluated by a doctor.
Symptoms of a concussion can disappear before the brain is fully
healed, said Kinderknecht in a hospital news release. A doctor may
test a young athlete's readiness to return to play by engaging the
youngster in non-contact physical activity and watching for any
symptoms that may not have been present when the child was at rest,
Parents and coaches also need to remember that young athletes
may be reluctant to report symptoms of concussion, especially if it
occurs during a highly competitive game.
"I always tell my patients, if it's a sore knee, it might be all right to try to play," Kinderknecht said. "But you can't take chances with what may be a brain injury. If there are any symptoms, even mild ones, it is not appropriate to participate."
"With educated parents and coaches supporting a stringent policy about keeping injured players off the field, we can all worry less about second-impact syndrome," he added.
Kinderknecht gave a presentation on concussions at a recent
hospital symposium on sports medicine for young athletes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
concussion in sports.
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