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New goggles test to help detect concussions in IndyCar drivers

Posted at 1:22 AM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 02:49:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- IndyCar unveiled a new piece of equipment Thursday that will improve driver safety and may benefit other athletes down the road as well.

"Head injuries obviously is a really big deal. In all sports. And so anything that we can do to more precisely diagnose a concussion helps us promote safety," said Dr. Terry Trammell, IndyCar Safety Consultant.

I-PAS goggles scan a drivers' eyes and help detect whether or not they've suffered a concussion.

The federally-approved test is mandatory for all IndyCar drivers. It's part of their physical exam.

"If you suffer a concussion, it can really impair your ability to perform. So you can have problems with your balance, your memory, with your ability to react. So we can't really put somebody with a concussion back out on the track," said Dr. Geoffrey Billows, IndyCar Medical Director.

Here's how the goggles work.

"I compare it to an EKG machine. It draws squiggles on graphs and we know how to interpret those squiggles so we can use that data to make a more precise diagnosis of concussion," said Dr. Trammell.

IndyCar is among the long list of professional and amateur sports groups taking head injuries seriously so it is possible that one day I-PAS will be available at a youth basketball or football game.

"This is a tool that allows for more precise diagnosis and that's gonna trickle down. It's not if, it's when, and it's currently in development to go on to other sports," said Dr. Trammell.

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