January 18, 2017
Lara Carlson, DPE, FACSM, CSCS, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences, recently presented her research as an invited speaker at the 2017 NASCAR Summit in Concord, North Carolina.
The NASCAR Summit is an annual conference attended by hundreds of medical, safety, and security personnel in preparation for the 2017 racing season. Carlson’s presentation, “Hydration Status & Thermoregulatory Responses in Motorsports Drivers During Competitive Racing” was presented to medical professionals concerned with performance and safety in motorsport.
Carlson published the first study that quantified the thermoregulatory and physiological challenges associated with competitive stock car racing in 2014. Since then, she has continued collaborating with the U. S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) on the project, because a similar predicament exists with military personnel (aviation pilots, soldiers in armored vehicles, etc.). Carlson’s study confirmed that completing physical tasks in elevated cabin temperatures (racecar cockpit) with the addition of protective uniforms, which hinders evaporative cooling, results in significant stress: increased thermal stress, cardiovascular strain, and fluid losses. “Without a fluid replacement strategy, fluid losses for these drivers may exceed 3% body weight and it could negatively impact driving performance,” said Carlson. “Drivers are athletes and we should advocate for their safety and performance when competing in their sport.”
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