SPECIAL COVERAGE: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500

Second impact after concussion proves devastating

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Becky Lehe still gets emotional when she thinks about it.

“We were just in shock,” Becky said. “It was this can’t be. This is just a bad dream. We’re gonna wake up from this. He’ll be fine.”

Becky was talking about her son Cody. He was the captain of the high school football team and took a big hit under the Friday night lights.

“He said it was a huge hit,” Becky said. “I’ve had hits like that before, but it was a doozy.”

Cody Lehe complained about a few headaches after the original concussion, but he said they weren’t too bad. Everyone decided to get it checked out, so Cody got a CT scan. It came back clean.

“He said, ‘My scan is fine I’m going back to practice,’” Becky said.

Then Cody took another hit in practice. He collapsed.

“One of his best buddies called me and said, ‘We think he’s having a seizure. He’s knocked out cold and he’s not responding,’” Becky said.

Cody was in the hospital for weeks suffering from Second Impact Syndrome or SIS. To this day, Cody can’t walk and has trouble talking. He has problems with short-term memory and doesn’t remember that first concussion.

Dr. Michael Turner says Cody came back too soon.

“The real key here is that a normal CT scan between concussions does not clear you, does not make you safe from this devastating Second Impact Syndrome,” said Turner, who just finished a comprehensive study on Cody.

Turner used Cody’s clean CT Scan, which he says is rare to have in these cases, and his second impact scan. The results were published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. His findings should put parents on alert.

“It happens in high school and young college athletes,” Turner said. “It never happened to an NFL player, so it probably has to do with the immature brain.”

Cody is making great progress. He still likes to fist bump and his parents know he survived for a reason.

“I think he was spared to show and to teach people that just because your scan shows you’re ok doesn’t mean you are,” Becky said.

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