By Bob Pockrass,

CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR is implementing the use of the King-Devick test to screen for concussions when drivers are brought to the infield medical center.

The test, developed in association with the Mayo Clinic, typically takes only a few minutes and consists of reading numbers listed in a row with various spacing between them […]

NASCAR talked about using the King-Devick test earlier this year but had not announced until Friday its use as a way to quickly check a driver who has been involved in a crash. Vision accounts for more than 55 percent of the brain’s pathways, according to the test developers, so a score lower than a baseline score administered at the start of the season could indicate that a driver has suffered a concussion. NASCAR had been using tests that took 20 minutes or more.

“The field of concussions is constantly evolving, and we work with experts across the country in maintaining a proactive approach to prevention and assessment,” NASCAR said in a statement. “At those experts’ recommendation, we are implementing the King-Devick test as part of a basic neurological exam for drivers in the [care center].”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed the second half of the 2016 season while battling concussion-related balance and vision issues. The toll of previous concussions played a role in his decision to retire after the 2017 season. But if drivers feel any way capable, they will want to drive unless told they can’t.

“A lot of times, NASCAR has to help us from ourselves, so I think that better technology obviously is something that we all ask for in order to make sure that we either have A, more opinions or B, better opinions and that we’re not held out of a race car for some other unforeseen circumstance,” NASCAR driver Kyle Busch said.

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