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Does Second Impact Syndrome Exist?

McCrory, Paul MBBS, PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
Thematic Articles
Abstract

Second impact syndrome (SIS) is a widely feared complication of traumatic brain injury. Although postulated to occur after repeated concussion, the evidence for such a premise is not compelling. This paper reviews the published evidence for and against the existence of this controversial entity. Rather than SIS being a complication of recurrent concussion, it is far more likely that the clinical condition represents “diffuse cerebral swelling,” a well-recognized complication of traumatic brain injury. This condition is more common in children and adolescents, which reflects the known demographics of so-called “second impact syndrome.” We propose that clinicians abandon the misleading term second impact syndrome and refer to the syndrome as diffuse cerebral swelling.

Author Information

Centre for Sports Medicine Research & Education, and Brain Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Address correspondence to Paul McCrory, MBBS, PhD, 31 Grosvenor Parade, Balwyn, Victoria 3101, Australia. E-mail: pmccrory@ compuserve.com

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.