Definition of Second Impact Syndrome

Reviewed on 9/28/2021

Second impact syndrome is a term that refers to the condition in which an individual experiences a second head injury before complete recovery from a prior head injury. Athletes who sustain a concussion and return to playing their sport early are believed to be at high risk for this condition. Symptoms are related to the location and extent of both injuries and can include all symptoms typical of a concussion or head injury, including dizziness, poor coordination, headache, memory loss, confusion, photophobia, and others. This is also known as repetitive head injury syndrome.


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May, Todd, Lisa A. Foris, and Chester J. Donnally III. "Second Impact Syndrome." [Updated 2021 Jul 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: <>.

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