Tag Archives: healing
By Nik Donovic
We’ve all heard the old adage “where you dropped on your head as a child?,” but none of us really think about the long-term and potentially hazardous effects of what a mild-to-severe traumatic head injury could have on your ability to perform everyday tasks like driving. Although there isn’t a black and white, or even dotted line when it comes to the matter, as each injury is different; there are guidelines, warning signs, and some protocols in place to determine and ensure you and those around you are safe.
Crossing the Legal Walk: Making Sure You’re Properly Insured
Some states have laws that require a formal evaluation on traumatic brain injury patients before returning to the road. However, many merely require a valid driver’s license. In that case, a patient should work extensively with a medical professional or even friends and family to access progress in healing. It goes without saying that safety needs to be a number one concern, and part of that means ensuring the patient is insured. There are different insurance regulations in place depending on where you live, but adhering to them could mean the difference between life and death.
Watch for Warning Signs: Is it Time to Put the Permanent Brakes On?
Approximately 40-60 percent of people who have suffered a TBI get back behind the wheel at some point in their life. Many of them also opt to place restrictions on their driving, only allowing themselves to drive during the day or in familiar areas. Sometimes they may be too eager to get behind the wheel, or their self-regulated restrictions may be too lax. If that’s the case, it’s up to those close to them to watch for suspicious behavior. If you have a loved one who has suffered a TBI, it is essential to look out for warning signs that may indicate that they’re a danger on the road. Look out for:
- Drifting too close to barriers or other cars
- Speeding up and slowing down inappropriately
- Displaying a lack of judgement in distance, stopping or turning
- Getting easily lost, even in familiar areas
How To Evaluate When it’s Time to Put the Pedal to the Metal
Many TBI survivors are not properly evaluated before returning to the road, and although there’s no “one size fits all” for determining whether they can, should or much they driving is appropriate; there are some standard litmus tests for those who’ve suffered a TBI and wish to get back behind the wheel. A standard assessment has two parts:
- Preliminary: the first step in determining whether it’s safe to drive is to assess basic cognitive skills. This means they should have the ability to think clearly and concisely: reaction time, basic judgement, motor skills, reasoning and spatial relations. The preliminary phase should also ascertain whether they need special adaptive equipment before returning to the road.
- Real Life Testing: Just like when a teenager is learning to drive, it is crucial for TBI sufferers to have adequate practice time behind the wheel. For this they can use a simulator, if available, or practice in a safe place with a responsible evaluator. The “road test” should gradually work up to many different scenarios until the driver and evaluator are both comfortable and confident that they can get back on the open road.
Denver Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker has returned to practice, less than two weeks after suffering his third concussion in ten months. He hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that may be a mere formality in the NFL, where the head in the sand mentality is a constant when it comes to traumatic brain injuries.
Someone has to step in and suggest to Welker that he take a couple months off, at least. Welker is not going to do it. How about Peyton Manning or John Fox? Both are presumably decent human beings, who care more about Welker than a slightly improved chance of winning a football game.
Local columnists are doing their part.
“Last season, Welker raised eyebrows by returning from his first concussion, suffered on Nov. 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs, just a week later to face off against the New England Patriots in Foxboro,” wrote Zach Fogg, a columnist with Mile High Sports. “The Broncos were 9-1 at the time and there was little to be gained for Welker by returning early, aside from the opportunity to face off against his former team. The risk vastly outweighed the reward.
“When he suffered another concussion a few weeks later, those fears were vindicated.”
“This time around, more than a few pragmatic members of Broncos nation are asking that Welker consider his long-term health. They’re saying that it’s time for the best slot receiver in the history of the NFL to retire.”
Fogg went on to question Fox’ commitment to the concept of family.
“(W)hat does Fox always tell the media about this team? They’re a family. He loves that word, uses it all the time when talking about the Broncos. Heck, he even worked it into his talking points about Matt Prater’s DUI .
“But if the Broncos are truly the family they claim to be, they’ll consider sitting Welker down and talking to him about his health. That’s what a real family would do.
“What’s more, they should go a step further and back up their words: They should tell Welker that they cannot, in good conscience, continue to send him out onto the gridiron to take another traumatic hit to the head. They should be willing to cut him to make him either consider retirement, or uproot his family to find another place to play.”
“A colleague asked me a hypothetical question this week: Could John Fox live with himself if he put Welker back on the field and an ensuing concussion left the receiver with permanent brain damage, mental illness or, perhaps even worse, in a wheelchair?
“If Welker continues his career in the NFL, it shouldn’t be on the Broncos’ watch. He should retire, but short of that, Denver should not be responsible for allowing him to continue damaging his health.”
for more, visit: http://milehighsports.com/author/zachfoggsports/