HealthDay News — Even after their symptoms disappear, concussion patients may still have difficulty driving, according to research published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
The study included 14 college-age participants who were tested on a driving simulator within 48 hours after they no longer felt the effects of their concussions.
Despite feeling like they had recovered from their head injuries, the patients were still likely to drive erratically. At times, their skill levels were similar to driving after drinking, the University of Georgia researchers said. “They had less vehicle control while they were doing the driving simulation, and they swerved more within the lane,” study author Julianne Schmidt, PhD, of the University of Georgia College of Education’s department of kinesiology, said in a university news release.
“Despite being asymptomatic, concussed participants exhibited poorer vehicle control, especially when navigating curves,” the authors wrote. “Driving impairments may persist beyond when individuals with a concussion have returned to driving. Our study provides preliminary guidance regarding which neuropsychological functions may best indicate driving impairment following concussion.”
Schmidt JD, Hoffman NL, Ranchet M, et al. Driving after concussion: Is it safe to drive after symptoms resolve? [published online January 24, 2017]. J Neurotrauma. doi: 10.1089/neu.2016.4668