Beginning in 2014, NASCAR will mandate pre-season neurocognitive baseline testing as part of its concussion prevention and management program for all its national series.
Baseline testing will be performed using ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). The ImPACT test evaluates a driver’s verbal and visual memory, processing speed, and reaction time. If a driver is believed to have suffered a concussion, doctors will perform this test again and compare the results to the driver’s baseline established before the season.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR vice president of racing operations, said:
NASCAR made this decision because we think it is important to drivers’ health for doctors to have the best information and tools available in evaluating injuries. Before announcing this rule, we provided drivers concussion and baseline testing education and created opportunities for them to ask any questions they may have to a top neurosurgeon that specializes in traumatic brain injuries. Also, remember that ImPACT tests are not new to our sport and have been used for treatment through the years.