Suffering a second concussion while still having symptoms from a previous concussion can be lethal. In 1973, Schneider was the first to describe the deaths of two athletes who died after suffering a relatively minor head injury during recovery from a previous concussion. In 1984, Saunders and Harbaugh reported the same scenario in a 19-year-old college football player and coined the term "second-impact syndrome" (SIS). Since then, at least 26 deaths have been attributed to SIS, 20 of them occurring in the past 10 years. Why? .
Athletes who take a serious blow to the head on the field, court or ice should see a doctor immediately and leave the game for the day if they lose consciousness or have persistent or delayed symptoms, according to new concussion guidelines based on the latest scientific research and endorsed by six major medical organizations. .
If their symptoms last more than 15 minutes, the guidelines say, athletes need to be monitored for up to a week and return to competition gradually based on tolerance of increasing physical demands. If their symptoms worsen, they should head straight for the emergency room. "Just because an athlete says he or she 'feels fine' doesn't mean he or she should get right back in the game. Concussion has already cut short too many professional athletic careers, and left too many amateurs with lasting problems. As we discover more about brain function, science and sport must come together to protect athletes use the most current information. .
The guidelines endorse the use of neuropsychological testing on the sidelines as part of the physical exam. They stress that a full examination by a physician usually can best judge the effects of concussion. Not going to a physician after receiving a blow to your head could in fact harm your life. When? .
Concussion occurs when there is an alteration in mental status with or without loss of consciousness and is due to a force relayed to the brain by either a linear or rotational mechanism.