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UGA concussion studies indicate extended risk to drivers

Perhaps you suffered a concussion when you were playing a sport like soccer or football. You recovered and went on with your normal activities, such as driving a car.

However, a study at the University of Georgia indicates that concussions can affect driving performance even after victims believe that they have recovered from their head injuries.

About the concussion study

A study undertaken at the UGA College of Education and published in the Journal of Neurotrauma found that although drivers felt that they had completely recovered from a concussion, they continued to drive erratically. Researchers tested 14 college-aged, post-concussion participants on a driving simulator. Testing showed that although they all felt well again, they had less vehicle control than normal and swerved in their lanes. This study, the first of its kind, indicates that following a concussion, drivers are an accident risk.

A longer-lasting problem

The UGA researchers confirmed that their concussion research focused mainly on college athletes. When a player suffers a concussion, he or she must pass tests to find out how well the brain functions before returning to the field of play. Athletes are not restricted from driving, but because the simulator testing showed that the effects of a concussion appear to last longer than was previously thought, researchers feel the need for an examination of driving restrictions.

Medical evaluation

A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms include headaches, trouble concentrating, anxiety, mood changes, dizziness or nausea and changes in sleep patterns. Vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of head injuries, and accident victims should seek medical attention promptly, even if the accident is a minor one. A medical report also ties an injury directly to the crash, which is important evidence when the time comes to file a claim for insurance compensation. If you suffer a concussion, remember the UGA study and allow sufficient time to pass following your recovery before you begin driving again.

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