INDYCAR Concussion Question UPDATE

UPDATE 6/24 12:28 CST: According to @djcraske de Silvestro has NOT been cleared to race in Iowa this weekend, and will not attempt.  Repeating, after this story, Simona de Silvestro will not be cleared to race in Iowa, even though she did 24 hours following the concussion…

UPDATE #2 6/24 12:35 CST: RT@djcraske Credit to both her & HVM Racing. She went to medical on own accord, they ran IMPACT tests – denied. Next race July 10.

UPDATE #3 6/24 12:41 CST: And the image of de Silvestro was blocked for use, sorry honest mistake…

UPDATE #4 6/24 1:11 CST: Thanks to @djcraske, once again for allowing me to use one of his pictures!!!

If you recall prior to the Indy 500, during qualifications, Ho-Pin Tung was disallowed to race after a concussion during an accident.  Also during that qualification, the new “darling” of IndyCar Simona de Silvestro, had an accident but reports only had (only in air quotes) 2nd and 3rd degree burns to contend with.  However if you look at the two crashes you will notice that both were of considerable force, and some have even commented that the de Silvestro crash was seemingly worse.  (These are people affectionately know as “gear heads” who follow the sport much closer than I).

Thanks do @djcraske and his very intimate following of INDYCAR he had these observations;

Now, that accident was nothing of her doing whatsoever. Something obviously broke in the left rear, and she was a passenger. 99.9999% of the world’s population would’ve left skidmarks in their drawers after something like that. She suffered 2nd/3rd degree burns on her hands, and must wear gloves for one year. To her credit, she qualified for the 500.

During the 500, she whitewalled Turn 1 on Lap 3 or so, and struggled with the car. She was in/out of the pits often, and finally retired after 44 laps, finishing 31st.

During the Texas Twin 275’s, she didn’t have much of a car there, finishing back in 27th & 28th place. Still, some said she was still a little spooked after the Indy accident.

Fast forward to last weekend’s race at Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Mile is one of the trickest ovals in INDYCAR, because it really does drive like a road course. During practice, this happens:

Synopsis: She was taken to Milwaukee hospital at Saturday 5pm, released at 10:30pm, and was cleared to drive for Sunday’s race.

Initial Diagnosis: a cut on her left knee (from when it bounced up and popped the steering wheel off), a significant bruise on her right knee, a bruised back, and a dislocated rib.

Simona did start the race in last place after the team put the car back together. However, the car was retired after 11 laps due to “handling” issues. Yes, the car had been thrashed on to get going again after a nasty hit, but people were also pointing fingers at Simona being really spooked and she stepped out of the car because of such. From Blog: Her comments afterwards were a little telling, as well. She thought she felt fine on Sunday until it was time to race. Later she explained: “Throughout the day, I thought I was ready to get out there, but it only took a lap or two to realize that I wasn’t.”

However after the incident in Milwaukee the sponsors/ownership group of de Silvestro’s car announced via Twitter that she in fact had a concussion, that was sustained in the above wreck.  The issue is as @djcraske later pointed out, how was Tung not allowed to race for 7 days due to a concussion, yet de Silvestro allowed to race 24 hours later?

Seems to be a case of “keeping your stars on the track”; Tung a no-name while de Silvestro has surpassed Danica Patrick as the lady of racing, especially in open wheel.  Regardless of the so-called “reasoning” behind this decision INDYCAR looks terrible in this situation.  Not only for the double standard, but for putting a driver in a dangerous situation, forget just her how about all the other drivers on the track.

Even though this situation occurred in a sport that is less followed by the masses, it sets up a situation that all professional and amateur leagues are dealing with; when to sit “a star”.  The answer is simple, if they have a concussion they sit until they are healed up, period!

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