In recent years, concussions have come under increased scrutiny. In part, this is because of increased attention to the head injuries sustained by professional athletes while playing sports. People in Indiana are starting to understand that concussions have serious and long-lasting effects. That’s why it’s so awful to learn that concussed teens are quick to return to driving.
Understanding the effects of concussions
Concussions can cause dizziness, confusion and difficulties with vision. Some of these symptoms can persist for a long time. People who experience serious or repeated concussions can deal with aftereffects for years. That’s why it’s so shocking to learn that young drivers who have sustained concussions are returning to the road mere weeks afterward.
Why driving is a concern
Of the teen drivers with concussions who’d returned to driving, many made no changes to their habits. Only about 40% adapted by limiting themselves to shorter trips. While these teens were behind the wheel on the road, many of them had not yet returned to resuming certain activities, such as exercise or sports. This is a big problem as hundreds of thousands of teens are concussed annually. About half of them return to driving within just weeks.
This is a big concern for physicians and public safety officials. When people are recovering from a concussion, they may be more at risk for getting into motor vehicle accidents. This is due to factors like the inability to perform complex tasks after a concussion. Recently, researchers have suggested implementing more guidelines for young people regarding returning to normal activities after sustaining a concussion.
One issue about the rapid return to driving is the need for students to get from point A to point B. For kids who are expected to be at school, work and doctors’ appointments, transportation can be a real concern. Considering the pressures that make young people feel they must drive is an important part of this conversation too. Often, these drivers are not trying to be irresponsible. They may understand the risk they’re taking but feel that there isn’t a way around it.