NASCAR: Alex Bowman and Tyler Reddick Discuss Concussions and Changes to Prevent Future Head Injuries

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

This season there were a few moments where NASCAR concussions came to the forefront; Alex Bowman and Tyler Reddick know all about that. Bowman was sidelined for five weeks after suffering a concussion at Texas Motor Speedway. Ironically, the race that Reddick won during the playoffs.

However, it wasn’t long before Reddick was in his own incident. He suffered a wreck at Homestead-Miami that led to him eventually pulling out early of the Martinsville race. While Reddick didn’t miss a race due to his injury, besides the DNF, he was still shaken up.

The NASCAR COO, Steve O’Donnell talked about “improving daily” on safety issues earlier in the week.

Alex Bowman Changes After Concussion

Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports talked to both Alex Bowman and Tyler Reddick about the safety of the Next Gen cars. For Bowman, that meant changing some things around in the car.

“We moved the headrest angles a little bit, added more foam, different types of foam,” Bowman explained. “I changed my helmet a little bit. We changed quite a bit.

“It’s a process to kind of get it all right and get me comfortable with all of it.”

There were multiple times during the season when spotters would tell their drivers to press their heads against the headrest while crashing. That is to help eliminate any whiplash or banging against the headrest. We saw that with both Bowman and Reddick’s wrecks.

Tyler Reddick Says ‘Fine Line’ With Headrest

While Tyler Reddick is changing teams to 23XI, his work with Richard Childress Racing will help the future of NASCAR. Having the information they have since his incident will hopefully keep him and other drivers safer in 2023.

It isn’t just as simple as making things softer or spongier.

“As much as you would think softer is better, it can be bad in other ways,” Reddick explained. “If it’s too soft, it can kind of grab your head and expose you to rotational forces, which are just as dangerous.

“It’s just a fine line. Everyone is working on exploring bigger and better things.”

Echoing those statements from Alex Bowman, both drivers want to see improvements. The 2022 season was just the beginning. In 2023, things have to be better in terms of safety if NASCAR wants this momentum to continue. Injured drivers are no good for anyone.