Why it’s dangerous for teens to return to driving shortly after a concussion

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2021 | Personal Injury

A study published last month in the Journal of Adolescent Health indicates that many teens who suffer concussions resume driving sooner than is probably safe. Teens can suffer concussions for all kinds of reasons. Many teen concussions are suffered while playing sports. Some occur from falls or even fights. Some, of course, are caused by car crashes.

Resuming activities after a concussion

The study, conducted by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), looked at data involving over 300 teens that were in CHOP’s specialty care concussion program. It found that almost half of the teens who had suffered concussions were driving again within two weeks following their injury.

Then teens in the program were asked at what point they resumed a number of activities besides driving. These included going back to school, exercising and playing organized sports. After returning to school (79%), driving was the most commonly resumed activity (47%).

Of those who had resumed driving, three-fifths said they were not restricting their driving behavior in any way, such as going shorter distances, not driving at night and not driving as often. Those who reported placing limits on their driving had more serious symptoms than the others.

Why concussion symptoms make driving hazardous

The effects of a concussion are what make the prospect of returning to driving too soon – especially for those who are still new to it – troubling. As one professor at Penn Nursing said, “We’re looking at this intersection of driving and concussion and see teen drivers returning to what is already a very high-risk behavior for them and doing so with an injury known to cause cognitive impairment.”

A concussion can also cause vision and neurological issues. These, along with cognitive deficits, can increase the chances of being involved in a crash.

While far more is known about concussions than in the past, too many still go undiagnosed. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, fall or other accident where a concussion may have occurred, it’s essential to have the appropriate tests done. If a concussion or other type of brain injury is diagnosed, your medical team can better advise you on what activities to avoid and for how long.

If the injury was the result of someone else’s actions or negligence, find out what legal options you have to get the compensation you need for medical bills and other expenses and damages.