Second Impact Syndrome – Coach & School Official Liability

Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), also known as Second Impact Concussion, refers to the brain injury that can result when an athlete is allowed to return to his/her sport too soon after getting hit in the head, and then suffers a second impact/concussion.

The medical literature suggest that younger, less developed, brains are at greater risk for Second Impact Syndrome. There have been numerous reports of young players who have suffered back-to-back head injuries and died from increased intra-cranial pressure.

Coaches and school officials (school districts/college/university officials) should have a certified athletic trainer on the field to assess a child in the event of a blow to the head. A player who suffers even a mild concussion should be benched. Most guidelines say that player should remain out of their sport for seven days after all their symptoms disappear.

Trainers and coaches have a duty to protect children from SIS by recognizing that any complaints of headache or dizziness after a head impact could potentially be a concussion and leaves the child vulnerable to another injury. Sometimes coaches and trainers let children return to the field too early and this negligence has devastating consequences.

If your child has been injured in this manner, the school district (or owner of your child’s private school or college) may be liable if it failed to use reasonable policies and procedures for head injury management, did not provide its trainers/coaches with proper training, or did not require a “return to play” note from a doctor following a concussion.

This video explains more about the dangers of SIS and why “caution should be the name of the game”:

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