NASCAR recently announced that they will be requiring drivers to get baseline testing done for 2014 as part of their concussion program. Drivers will go for pre-season testing to get a baseline. Then later in the year if they suffer an incident with a suspected concussion, testing will be done once again to see if the numbers change.
Chip Ganassi has stated that he’s fully behind the policy given past experiences with situations of this nature, Chip Ganassi says that he is in favor of the testing. He was told back in 1984 himself to not race anymore due to concerns of future situations. Ganassi also finds himself in a current situation on the IndyCar side with Dario Franchitti being advised not to race anymore.
“I think to break a bone is one thing, or to have a surgical procedure is another,” Ganassi commented. “But when it comes to your head, I think it’s important that everybody understands that’s probably the least known area of expertise by any doctor, and certainly there’s a lot of expertise out there. They’re just in the last four or five years understanding what injuries and implications of those injuries are.”
Ganassi says he’s not in favor of a doctor saying someone has to totally stop racing, but advising time off and making recommendations would be fine in his book.
“I think if you have an interest in the sport, though, I think you have to rely on professionals at all levels to move forward, whether that professional expertise is in the medical field, the field of engines, the field of engineering, or the field of marketing, whatever,” Ganassi commented. “You rely on professionals. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t rely on professionals in this area.”
Other drivers have stated they’re in favor of the system, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. who went through a situation himself in 2012. NASCAR’s most popular driver missed a pair of races following back-to-back concussions per doctor recommendations. Given his experience with doctors in learning about concussions and the process of diagnosis and the testing, he feels it’s a step in the right direction.
There have also been a few people criticizing the new system, including 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski.
“This is not the field for doctors,” Keselowski commented. “Let them play in their arena and I’ll play in mine,” Keselowski said Friday at Martinsville Speedway.”