Dear Dr. B,
Our daughter was in a car accident on her way to college last week. Because of a concussion in the car accident, her doctor said she can’t listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies or even look at Christmas lights for several weeks. Those were my primary concerns until we drove home yesterday and the stress from being in the car came over me. Her car was totaled, so how do I overcome the fear of letting her drive again? How does she overcome the fear from the accident in order to drive again?
Concussion Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned,

First, let’s just take a moment and thank God that your daughter’s injuries were not even more significant—while a concussion is serious, given that her car was totaled, it sounds like it could have been so much worse.

You have every right to be concerned, however. A concussion is no small, inconsequential injury and the recovery process must be respected. Sometimes the hardest aspect of a concussion to deal with is the fact that no one can see it, or the consequences of it. And the symptoms often vary from day to day.

Rest is crucial for concussion recovery

It will be crucial for you and your daughter to extend much grace to her during this recovery period. The greatest and fastest recovery will occur within the first month, followed by the first three months post injury, six months, and one year. As hard as it may be, heed your doctor’s warning to avoid the stimulation of lights and sounds. Your daughter’s brain is trying to repair itself and needs a calm environment free from extra stimuli in which to do so. Rest is crucial for concussion recovery.

Following a concussion, cognitive functioning and emotions can be inconsistent

It’s important that she return to normal activities slowly, because resuming normal activities too quickly risks further injury and may slow her healing and compromise her ultimate recovery. As she heals, encourage her to take on normal activities a little at a time, but never all at once. Ensure that she avoids doing too much too soon.

Just like cognitive functioning following a concussion can be inconsistent, so too can emotions. Some days she may feel just fine. Other days she may feel sad, discouraged, frustrated, or afraid. Reassure her that this is normal, and it will get better with time.

After a car accident, guard your heart against a spirit of fear

Fear of driving again following a car accident and concussion is not uncommon, and even understandable. As a Christian, it’s important to guard your heart against entertaining a spirit of fear. Do not let this become an open door point in which the enemy can gain access to your or your daughter’s heart and mind to torment you with fear. God protected your daughter from more serious injury before, and we can trust Him to continue protecting her in the future.

Fear always stems from a feeling of being out of control, and your concerns about her driving again are understandable. Yet, whenever we drive, we place our lives in God’s hands because we cannot control what other drivers on the road do.

Rather than entertain worry and fear, confess your fears and give them over to your Heavenly Father, entrusting Him to care for your precious daughter. Only then can you experience peace:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Once medically cleared, don’t let fear stop you from driving again

Once your daughter’s doctor has medically cleared her to drive again, encourage her to do so. Fear has a way of growing, the longer we wait to face it. Pray with her and for her before she drives again, and in those prayers, thank God for having spared her life and kept her safe from further harm before and for going with her each time she gets in the car again. He is her loving Father, and you can entrust her into His care.

Combat fear by memorizing Scripture about God’s faithfulness

Encourage her to memorize Scripture that will help combat her fears and remind her of God’s faithfulness such as:

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Proverbs 23:24)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Patience is key in the concussion healing and recovery process

Both of you will need to exercise patience through her healing and recovery process. There is no way to speed it along, but you can slow it down by not heeding her doctor’s warnings and advice.

Finally, remind her of God’s promises:

“I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord.”
(Jeremiah 30:17 NLT)

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