Many studies focusing on organ damage during competition focus on short-term, immediate damage due to blunt-force trauma with a limited time window, and minimal long-term followup to control for the possibility of lasting symptoms or lingering health problems as a result. (Cantu, 2003) Thus, there is still considerable need to examine and quantify a risk of death that would otherwise be dismissed; and to characterize this threat through a variety of statistics.
Second-impact syndrome (SIS), a term originating in 1984, is described by a Dr. David Cifu and other colleagues as a "situation in which an individual sustains a second head injury before the symptoms from the first head injury have resolved." (Cifu, 2010) The second trauma for an athlete is likely to occur days to weeks following the first, in high risk sports. Loss of consciousness (syncope) is not necessary for dangerous complications to set in. (Bey, 2009) an impact which may seem of little consequence at first, wherein the athlete may seem to be only momentarily dazed can have a profound effect. But the effects of this second impact may result in cerebral edema/swelling and herniation, creating a slow bleed within the skull. This hidden crisis can trigger a seemingly healthy athlete to suffer fainting and fatality within minutes. (Bey, 2009) Dr. Cifu reports a mere 17 cases of confirmed SIS (Secondary Injury System) that have been dignified with descriptions in the medical literature. Much work still remains to describe the true pathophysiology and medical risks of SIS. ...Show more