Ohio Hospital Studying Impact of Concussions on Teen Drivers

December 8, 2014

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are currently studying teenagers who have suffered concussions in order to help doctors determine when teen drivers are ready to get back behind the wheel of a vehicle.

A driving study is currently taking place that uses assessments of eye tracking within a driving simulator to evaluate potential impairments to reaction times following a concussion.

“This is the only pediatric driving study that I know of that’s examining the behavior of concussed patients,” said Dr. Adam Kiefer, assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Sports Medicine. “We are looking for novel ways to assess these teens and to allow them to return to the road safely.”

Cincinnati Children’s Sports Medicine recently received a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to perform the study. Researchers are testing patients between the ages of 16-19 who have suffered a concussion within 7-10 days. They are comparing them to their peers of the same age who are healthy and driving.

They will collect the data over the next several months. The research team with expertise in sports medicine, behavioral medicine and neurology will then analyze the results.

“One of the biggest issues teens and adults face when dealing with concussions is a decreased ability to react quickly to objects in their environment,” said Dr. Kiefer. “This can be a major problem, especially during driving, and that’s why I think it’s important for this type of research to be done.”

Source: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

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