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May provides unique opportunity for medical residents at IMS

Posted: 3:28 PM, May 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-22 16:03:30-04
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis 500 is just days away and the weeks leading up to race day are interesting for more than just spectators. The lead up to the race also creates a unique learning environment for people in the medical field.

During the month of May, medical residents get the opportunity to work with drivers who are involved in crashes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the weeks leading up to the big race.

"This is a different world of medicine so you learn another whole set of caring for patients," Alayna Prest, IU medical resident, said.

Geoffrey Billows, the IMS medical director, said there's really nowhere else to get a similar experience.

"Especially as a result of the ultra high speed crashes and the g forces that we see there's really nowhere else you can go to have those kinds of experiences," Billows said.

So far, the medical residents participating in the program are not only learning from the best when it comes to caring for people involved in motorsports, but also are getting their fair share of hands on training.

"They're among the first people that arrive at the car and they kind of learn how to evaluate one of our drivers after they crash and make sure there isn't any significant injuries before they get out of the car," Billows said.

The residents responded to all three crashes at the track last week.

"It's been during practice so thank goodness it hasn't been serious," Prest said.

Most of the residents are from the emergency medicine program at the IU School of Medicine, but there is interest from out-of-state.

"There's really no other opportunity like this in the country," Drew Lowry, a medical resident from Texas, said.

The injuries are unlike others they'd see in the hospital.

"They are very different and how you approach them is different too because you are on scene whenever the accident happens," Lowry said.