(AP) NASCAR likely to make concussion test mandatory
By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
NASCAR will likely require baseline concussion tests for all drivers in 2014.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations, said officials have also urged drivers to get an ImPACT test before this season.
The test is used by many professional sports leagues, including the NFL, to assess concussions and determine when an injured athlete can safely return to play. The ImPACT test has transformed the way concussions are managed by giving a tangible measure of what’s going on in the brain. It’s a computer-based series of fast-paced quizzes involving words, pictures and colors. Scores reflect how quickly and correctly the questions are answered.
Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon voluntarily took the test and says all drivers should complete one even if it’s not mandatory.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed two races last season during the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with a concussion. Earnhardt was checked out last year by Dr. Micky Collins, the clinical and executive director of the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins is one of the leading experts in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes who have suffered concussions. He helped with developed the ImPACT test with Dr. Mark Lovell.
Gordon said Earnhardt’s injury was the deciding factor in getting tested.