Sports medicine specialist Jonathan Gilber analyzes NASCAR concussion issues

NASCAR is taking sweeping measures to combat the unprecedented rise in concussions among this year’s Cup Series drivers in its Next Generation car.

After several drivers publicly criticized NASCAR for concussion issues in the wake of accidents involving Kurt Busch (Pocono) and Alex Bowman (Texas), the Sanctions Authority has conducted a crash test and will have new parts in its next-generation car in 2023. While some racers have said this is A change that had to be addressed before the car was revealed in February, and others are embracing the change.

“This stuff takes time,” Corey Lagoy said this week. stack pennies Audio notation. “No one is in more danger or harm than NASCAR. When we were designing this car, safety was above every checkpoint for this car.”

The rear section is the part of the car in question after the two accidents. Bush’s career may be cut short by the severity of his concussion, as a press conference is scheduled for Saturday at his home track in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Bowman has missed the last two races and will miss the next three, eliminating him from the championship competition in the 48th car.

“The overall goal of these changes appears to be to create a better crumple zone behind the driver and to allow those components in the rear to dissipate more power in the event of a crash, so there is less impact on the driver,” Bozy Tatarvic said of the upcoming changes. To the next generation car in road track. The changes will occur in three main areas of the rear of the vehicle, which include the rear bumper struts, the rear section and the rear midsection. “

The concussions are the driver’s most visible brain injury since Dale Earnhardt Jr concussion in 2016, plus Ryan Newman was hospitalized in 2020 after suffering a last-lap accident that nearly cost him his life at the Daytona 500. But the two were four years away, and not many had to From drivers to sitting out racing with brain injuries close to each other in almost two decades.

Dr. Jonathan Gilber, Sports Medicine Specialist and author of Tiger Woods and Tommy John’s elbow back: the injuries and tragedies that changed careers, sports, and societyAnd the He has studied NASCAR safety initiatives since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001.

“Anytime driver safety is addressed, we must applaud those who strive to do so and especially those who use science rather than reaction to solve a problem,” said Dr. Gilber. “We saw this reaction after the death of Dale Earnhardt.”

In Dr. Gelber’s 2019 book, he detailed Formula 1’s reaction to the safety changes following the death of superstar Ayrton Senna, which preceded Earnhardt’s death by less than seven years.

Both Nascar and Formula 1 worked immediately to improve the safety of their racing cars. Fatalities were a known risk in motorsports, but the two accidents created a whole new awareness of the racers. How can they test the limits of cars without risking their lives?

Drivers in all types of motor sports soon began wearing HANS to protect their heads and necks in the early 2000s. To this day, runners still try to find ways to protect their heads. NASCAR Champion Joey Logano has revealed that he’s trying to swallow any gap possible between his helmet and HANS.

“I feel like the meeting was very open and honest, and it was necessary for drivers to get off their chests because of their real concerns,” Lugano said of an October 8 meeting NASCAR held with drivers in Charlotte. “The frustrating part is that it took so long for this meeting to take place. This meeting should have taken place on the Monday after Kurt’s accident, not wait for Alex to crash.”

The Next Generation car was Nascar’s first major changes to its car since the 2007 Car of Tomorrow. The complete redesign of the race car was intended to enhance safety for drivers, lower team costs and make the cars look more like street vehicles, sports car-style.

In his analysis of the Busch and Bowman accidents, Dr. Gilber said, “Concussions are also particularly deceptive because they cannot be seen, so fans, drivers and their teammates cannot always estimate the injury. Not all concussions require unconsciousness either.

“There are also things called concussion episodes that build up over time — think training a boxer or an MMA fighter or a long career with endless sessions in the gym getting hit in the head. Or soccer players in training. It’s not just one big game or A big race where a single brain injury occurs.”

As Nascar moves forward with safety changes to its next-generation car for 2023, it will be one of the most watched sports stories of the new year.

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