Friday, February 15, 2013

Burton Wants Specifics On Proposed Head Injury Testing

NASCAR announced yesterday that it is considering mandatory baseline impact testing for drivers in 2014, in an effort to more accurately diagnose head injuries. Asked about the proposed new program, veteran driver Jeff Burton said he is in favor of the move, while still harboring concerns.

I haven’t done it yet,” said Burton of the baseline test. “I’m investigating it and getting all the information that I feel like I need to get. I’m trying to get educated on it.
“I think it is a good idea,” he said, “the fundamentals of it are a good idea. (But) I want to know the specifics of it. I want to know all the facts before I commit to doing it.”
Burton said he is concerned that a poor post-crash test could result in a driver being unnecessarily removed from the cockpit for a subsequent race.
“I think the interpretation of the results is everybody’s concern,” said the Caterpillar Chevrolet driver. “Nobody wants to drive in a condition they shouldn’t drive in, but we all feel like we are our own best judge to determine if we should drive or not. I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but I think (the interpretation of results) is the biggest concern.
“I don’t think anybody wants to drive in a condition that puts somebody else in danger, or puts themselves in larger danger. That part of it is good. But how they implement it; how it is judged; how it is scored – all those things – are to me, specifics that I want to understand.”
I don’t have a belief that NASCAR wants to sit a driver down just for the fun of it,” he said. “I don’t think they would do something, except in the incident (where) there is no other choice. But then again, it is a mechanism that could be used to make a decision.
“I’m not opposed to doing it. I just want to understand how it all works before I commit to doing it.”






  1. I've had a similar suspicion myself on this proposed concussion testing that NASCAR has. I too am in favor of this because the last thing we want to see happen is for a driver to be injured, and then to put himself in harm's way by racing the next weekend at 185 mph. At the same time, these tests could be flawed and there's always that slight chance of bias interfering with NASCAR's call in determining who's healthy enough to race and who isn't.

    Hopefully more specifics of this planned test will come out soon so that everybody is more clear as to how it will be run, if it in fact will take place in 2014.

    The worst thing to come out of this test would be for a big name driver to get injured, and NASCAR dictating whether or not to leave him out on the track based on his popularity or his status in the championship battle. I don't think NASCAR is that cynical to do something like that, but history shows that these things have happened in sports before.

    I know that many years ago, the Chicago Bears refused to let All-Pro linebacker Dick Butkus have surgery on his badly injured knees because while the team was terrible, they knew that fans would show up just to watch him play. If he couldn't play, the fans wouldn't show up, and so the Bears left him out there and wouldn't let him get a second opinion on his health for selfish reasons.

    Now I'm not trying to say that NASCAR would do something like that, especially nowadays when the sport is more in the public eye than it was 40 years ago, but you can't overlook these things and just say "Well, that was a different time and that wouldn't happen today." I think it's completely valid for those of us on the outside to be skeptical until further details about this program to come out, and to always keep in mind that what has happened in the past can still happen today.

  2. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Jeez paul that reply was longer than the article.