The following is a summary of “Longitudinal Outcomes of Cumulative Impact Exposure on Oculomotor Functioning in Professional Motorsport Drivers,” published in the May 2023 issue of Neurology by Ransom, et al.
For a study, researchers aimed to know the correlation between cumulative impact exposure and oculomotor functioning in INDYCAR professional drivers. The study was conducted across the 3 seasons( 2017-2019). In November 2021, statistical analyses were achieved. The study included INDYCAR series drivers who had participated in 3 professional racing seasons and experienced at least 1 contact incident (crash) in 2 out of the 3 seasons.
Investigators measured cumulative acceleration and deceleration forces and the total number of contact incidents (crashes) using third-generation chassis accident data recorders and ear accelerometers. They used a head-mounted clinical eye-tracking system (Neurolign Dx 100) to evaluate post-series oculomotor performance, including predictive saccades, vergence smooth pursuit, and optokinetic nystagmus.
They reported 13 drivers (mean [SD] age, 29.36 [7.82] years; all men) sustained median resultant acceleration forces of 38.15 g (observed range, 12.01-93.05 g; 95% CI, 30.62-65.81 g) across 81 crashes. No statistically significant relationship existed between the ear and chassis, resultant g forces a total number of contact incidents, and racing season assessed (F9,12 = 0.955; P = .54; Wilks Λ = 0.44).
From this study, investigators concluded that there were no statistically significant correlations between cumulative impact exposure, the assessed racing season, and oculomotor performance. Longitudinal studies throughout the racing season using multidimensional examination modalities (e.g., neurocognitive testing, advanced imaging, biomarkers, and physical examination) are significant to understand potential neurological and neurobehavioral sequelae and long-term consequences of cumulative impact exposure.