By On January 8th, 2013

Indiana Football Player Shows What Second Impact Syndrome Does To The Brain

Source: Flickr

You have likely heard about the dangers of repeated traumatic brain injuries. I’ve mentioned it a number of times, and it has been the focus of numerous studies lately, especially as a link has been found between repeated brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Normally, these brain injuries occur weeks, months, or sometimes years apart. The more TBIs someone has, the bigger risk for serious complications and life-long debilitation or death. It is rare, however, for those injuries to occur back-to-back, within days of each other. Rare, but not completely unheard of.

Cody Lehe, a 17-year-old high school football player from Indiana suffered two traumatic brain injuries in less than a week six years ago, and is still dealing with the consequences today. The Daily Mail tells his story, and explains how coaches let the injuries occur, but Lehe is actually lucky compared to some.

Most victims of “Second Impact Syndrome” or SIS don’t live to tell their story. The ambulance technicians didn’t believe Cody would either.

SIS is also completely limited to young, college or high school age football players, according to Dr. Michael Turner. “It’s probably something to do with the immature brain, because our brain really keeps growing until you’re 18, 19-years old.”

What makes Cody’s story so special, is he is the first SIS patient to receive a CT scan after the initial TBI and the second impact. In the past, doctors believed SIS was brought on by blood clots from the first concussion, initially unnoticed and made worse by brain swelling triggered by the second injury. Cody’s scan showed nothing.

SIS is a long ways from being understood, but it is truly tragic when it occurs. Especially, when it was as preventable as Cody Lehe’s.


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