FIA Collaborating On Motorsports Concussion Study | Performance Racing Industry
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FIA Collaborating On Motorsports Concussion Study
March 22, 2019
The project’s goal is to establish the natural history of symptoms and signs of concussion sustained in motorsports activity using a comprehensive neuroscientific battery and exploring emerging technologies for objective assessments.
FIA Collaborating On Motorsports Concussion Study

The FIA is collaborating with neuro-diagnostic company Neuro Kinetics (NKI), the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to launch a comprehensive and potentially transformational motorsports concussion study.

Titled RESCUE-RACER (Research Evaluating Sports ConcUssion Events—Rapid Assessment of Concussion and Evidence for Return) this two-year study of motorsports concussion incorporates some of the most promising and technologically-advanced concussion assessment systems currently available, including: NKI’s I-PAS (I-Portal Portable Assessment System), which is already used in IndyCar; the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB); salivary biomarkers; and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at 7T.

The study begins by collecting baseline data from professional racing drivers in the United Kingdom with post-injury tests to be run during the 2019 race season. It consists of two parts: the first, CarBON (Competitor Assessment at Baseline; Ocular, Neuroscientific), will investigate 40 UK-based racing drivers at baseline; and the second, CARS (Concussion Assessment and Return to motorSport), assesses a minimum of 20 drivers serially in the acute post-injury period (1-3 weeks).

Primary study support is provided by the FIA’s 2018 Sid Watkins Scholar and RESCUE-RACER Study Coordinator, Dr. Naomi Deakin, who is based at Cambridge University. Her work is overseen by Prof. Peter Hutchinson, Professor of Neurosurgery at Cambridge University and Chief Medical Officer for the British Grand Prix.

The project’s goal is to establish the natural history of symptoms and signs of concussion sustained in motorsports activity using a comprehensive neuroscientific battery, and exploring emerging technologies for objective assessments that can assist with concussion diagnosis and prognostication.  

After an accident, there is obvious concern for the individual racer, but a concussed driver also presents a potentially lethal risk to other competitors, as well as spectators and crew.

RESCUE-RACER is expected to result in evidenced-based, medical decision-making protocols for track-side evaluation after potentially concussive incidents and a plan for clinical management of motorsports concussion, including the important “return-to-race” decision.

The overall findings of the project, which is being funded by the FIA Foundation, could also translate into enhanced care for road traffic accident victims on public roads.  

For more information, visit fia.com.