Will Power cleared to drive; “no definitive evidence” of concussion

Associated Press
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As it has turned out, per INDYCAR Will Power did not have a mild concussion after all, and following further evaluation he has been cleared to drive.

Power had been diagnosed with one, which was announced Sunday during the Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. With him ruled out of competition, Team Penske nominated Oriol Servia to fill in first for the morning warmup and then the race; the Catalan finished 18th.

However, per an INDYCAR release, following an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program, it revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Power. He passed an IMPACT test and was also evaluated by a team of physicians who specialize 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,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to INDYCAR.

“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.”

A conference call later today will occur with Dr. Trammell, Power and Team Penske president Tim Cindric.

Here’s the full release from INDYCAR:

INDYCAR announced today that results of an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power. The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion passed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test and a MRI/DVI study was normal in all parameters. Power was evaluated by a team of physicians specializing in concussions.

Power has been cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition after sitting out race day on-track competition for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 13.

“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,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to INDYCAR. “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 March 11. He was evaluated at the scene, under INDYCAR protocol, and was cleared to drive by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows after showing no concussion-like symptoms.

Power experienced severe nausea on March 12 following Firestone Fast Six qualifications – where he claimed the Verizon P1 Award and broke the St. Petersburg track record. He was required to submit to an examination by INDYCAR Medical on March 13, 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 the 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 explained. “At the University of Miami they conducted a week’s worth of testing in one dayand Will was seen by multiple physicians. The doctors concluded definitively that Will had not sustained recent head trauma.”