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IndyCar driver Will Power cleared to return after crash, concussion symptoms

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 16, 2016 at 2:57 PM
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IndyCar Series driver Will Power has been cleared to return to competition after sitting out Sunday's race for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with concussion-like symptoms following a crash on Friday.

IndyCar announced Wednesday that results of an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Power.

The 2014 IndyCar Series champion passed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test and a MRI/DVI study was normal in all parameters, the organization announced. Power was evaluated by a team of physicians specializing in concussions.

"The doctors at the University of Miami concluded Power's symptoms were not the result of a concussion, and may have been related to a lingering inner-ear infection for which he was being treated," Dr. Terry Trammell, a safety consultant to IndyCar, said in a statement. "There is no evidence that he sustained a concussion in the crash on Friday, which is consistent with his ear accelerometer data and the mandatory screening evaluation conducted after his crash."

Power was involved in a one-car crash during morning practice in St. Petersburg on Friday. He was evaluated at the scene, under IndyCar protocol, and was cleared to drive by medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows after showing no concussion-like symptoms.

Power experienced severe nausea on Saturday following qualifications, but he claimed the pole and broke the St. Petersburg track record. He was required to submit to an examination by IndyCar medical on Sunday where he failed a SCAT (Sports Concussion Assessment Tool) and was presumed to have been suffering from concussion-like symptoms. He was replaced in the Team Penske No. 12 Chevrolet by Oriol Servia for the morning warmup practice and Sunday's race.

"Given the nature of his inner-ear infection, it would have been extremely difficult for Will to pass the SCAT, which is what ultimately led to the concussion diagnosis," Dr. Trammell said. "At the University of Miami they conducted a week's worth of testing in one day and Will was seen by multiple physicians. The doctors concluded definitively that Will had not sustained recent head trauma."

IndyCar's next race is April 2, a Saturday night under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway.

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