Will Power did not suffer a concussion before the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Australian was instead likely suffering only from an inner ear infection.
Power was a late scratch from Sunday’s race when symptoms he was displaying were indicative of a concussion. He had crashed two days earlier during a practice session, and was sick after winning the pole on Saturday.
IndyCar examined him the morning of the race and determined Power had a mild concussion.
IndyCar said Wednesday an evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program showed no evidence of a concussion. Power passed the Immediate Post-Concussion and Assessment and Cognitive Test and an MRI was normal.
Power has been cleared to resume racing. IndyCar’s next event is March 27 at Phoenix International Raceway.
“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 arrived in St. Petersburg battling the ear infection. He crashed Friday on the road course and was evaluated at the scene of the accident by IndyCar’s safety team. Showing no signs of injury, he was cleared to return to his car by IndyCar medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows.
Power qualified his No. 12 Chevrolet the next day and broke his own track record three times while winning the pole. But he was battling severe nausea and skipped the post-qualifying news conference. When IndyCar officials learned Sunday morning that Power was experiencing nausea, they ordered him examined again by Billows.
IndyCar said Wednesday that Power failed a Sports Concussion Assessment Tool test and was presumed to have a concussion. He was replaced for the race by Oriol Servia.
“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,” Trammell said. “At the University of Miami, they conducted a week’s worth of testing in one day, and Will was seen by multiple physicians. The doctors concluded definitively that Will had not sustained recent head trauma.”
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