When an athlete, who has already sustained a head injury sustains a second head injury before the symptoms and pathophysiology from the first have healed, the athlete is subject to a 'double impact' injury. Such injuries can result in life-long, permanent damage. Many times, these injuries - which are completely preventable - are a result of an athlete returning to activity too soon, either due to not being truthful with caregivers and coaches, or those individuals missed something.
The Second Impact Syndrome is a problem reaching pandemic levels in the adolescent demographic, primarily due to the developing brain's suscepibility to inury. The second impact can result in a loss of auto regulation of the brain's blood supply, causing swelling.
Don't be fooled into thinking the first concussion is not that serious, and that an athlete should just 'gut it up.' An athlete does not have to lose consciousness to get a concussion, and an adrenaline rush can mask it's symptoms. A second concussion before the first one heals can leave permanent, life-changing scars, and may even prove fatal.
"The game you sit out today could be
the career you save tomorrow."
- Ray Ciancaglini.