MSA working on concussion guidelines for UK motorsport

Drivers with concussion could have their licences temporarily confiscated in the UK if a plan for the Motor Sports Association to provide firm guidelines on head injuries is successful

MSA working on concussion guidelines for UK motorsport

AUTOSPORT understands that the MSA Motor Sports Council, Safety Advisory Panel and Medical Advisory Panel are assessing the potential need for a concussion directive, and that the MSA is also liaising with the Rugby Football Union on the topic.

FIA series such as Formula 1 and the World Rally Championship put their drivers though an ImPACT test, which examines a driver's brain function and performance through a series of questions and tasks.

This is a reference if a driver is concussed, and they are not allowed to resume competition until they pass.

It is thought the ImPACT test is not something that could be rolled out on a national level because it is expensive and time-consuming.

The MSA is, therefore, open to an official protocol to help a wider range of drivers, although no firm plans have been agreed.

One option on the table is to suspend a driver's licence for a period of time - possibly around three weeks, which is the period in which most concussions are believed to clear up - if medical staff agree they are concussed.

This would ensure most drivers are fully fit before they return to testing or racing, if they do not wish to undertake a scan or professional evaluation to be cleared to return sooner.

During last weekend's British Touring Car Championship round at Snetterton, Aiden Moffat crashed at Montreal corner in practice and suffered a concussion. He was withdrawn from the event.

TOCA medical officer Paul Trafford told AUTOSPORT: "Rather irritatingly, every sport has some regulations on concussion except motorsport: if you're concussed, you're out for a period.

"Drivers try hard to convince themselves they are all right.

"Now we [at TOCA] are being more cautious - if you've had a period of concussion we won't let you out that weekend.

"We have their licences, so we can control what they are doing.

"If you're the 750MC and go to a different circuit, unless you tell that circuit or someone's taken your licence off you, nobody's got a clue what's happened."

Andrew Jordan's BTCC title defence unravelled last year when, like Moffat, he was concussed in a practice crash at Snetterton, and he had to start at the back of the grid on race day before withdrawing from the finale.

"It's definitely worthwhile having something," Jordan said.

"Traff took one look at me after race two last year and said I was done for the day, and I was glad he said it. I was absolutely gone.

"The thing that surprised me was the shunt wasn't big, and it opened my eyes to the potential risks.

"It's not just you out there. You need to think about what might happen."

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