Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) found that nearly half of adolescents who sought specialty care for a concussion were back to driving when asked approximately two weeks after the injury, even though few had returned to exercise and sports. The findings raise important concerns about the need for evidence-based guidance on safely returning to driving for adolescents with concussion. In the absence of standardized guidelines, providers should include driving as part of post-injury discussions with families.
Meanwhile, researchers recommend that clinicians and families implement a gradual return to driving similar to, or more conservative than, the gradual return to school protocol. Teens who drive with cognitive, oculomotor and neurophysiologic deficits likely increase their risk of crashing and causing injuries to themselves and others on the road.
The findings were published online today by the Journal of Adolescent Health.