26 February 2015
Dennis: Alonso lost consciousness, is ‘physically perfect’
Ron Dennis: If you then ask the question why was Alonso in hospital for three days, it's because there was a period of unconsciousness...
Ron Dennis has faced the press to clear up speculation over Fernando Alonso's crash and condition during pre-season testing, insisting his lengthy hospital was as the result of particular caution being paid to his head injury following a brief loss of consciousness
Alonso was airlifted to hospital after striking the inside wall when he crashed on the final day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, with the team later stating he had suffered a concussion but was otherwise uninjured.
Proceeding to spend three nights in hospital before being discharged yesterday [Wednesday], the length of his time there had raised speculation about his true condition, but while Dennis went on to say that Alonso didn't suffer a concussion at all, he did confirm he briefly lost consciousness in the accident.
With this in mind, doctors opted to be particularly cautious with Alonso, with Dennis stating the length of the stay was partly justified by the current focus on head injuries in sport and the fact there is ultimately no rush to his recovery.
“Fernando's period in hospital was determined by the doctors, not by us. We were completely supportive. There has become a great deal of focus on head injuries. Head injuries have occurred in different sports over the last few months, some that have been almost freakish with significant consequences in skiing, ice hockey, rugby in England.
“The medical field is becoming more focused on cumulative injury and what can happen if you don't create the right period of rest. The level of focus of Fernando – because it's Fernando and it's Spain – was extreme. We completely supported everything that the doctors wanted to do.
“He had an accident here, everybody knows that. He was, as is always the case with a potential head injury, he was sedated here. He went to the hospital and was sedated, that's a completely normal process. He had a completely clear CT scan and then a completely clear MRI and at no stage during the inspection process at the hospital was their any indication of any damage to his brain.”
Dennis went on to confirm that Alonso did in fact lose consciousness during the impact, though stressed it was for only a time. With this in mind, Dennis says the team respects doctors' caution.
“If you then ask the question why was he in hospital for three days, it's because there was a period of unconsciousness, it was relatively short. The G figures of the accident were significantly less in his helmet than they were in the car. Significantly less is less than half of the accelerometers in his ears. The head restraint is primarily designed for forward and aft movement and this movement [moves head from side to side] is what occurred.
“There are reports of some inability for recall – that's again normal when you are shaken like this. He's completely lucid, talking, wants to drive, wants to cope, wants to go testing, all the rest of it. The doctor said if we really want to be sure and we want to give him the best chance of going to Australia and there not being any conditions is to rest him. We're not going to go against the wishes of a doctor and it's as simple as that.”
Dennis also said the team has not spoken to Alonso about the accident as yet, insisting they want to give him time to recovery.
“We haven't had that conversation with him yet,” he said when asked what Alonso had said. “He is pushing very hard to get into the car and saying I want to test, but the doctors are saying don't test. So the parents said they will take him home instead
"There is a time and a place.. We need to wait for the appropriate time, but all he wants to do is race and test. It is much better to put his recovery first and analysis second. It won't change anything so it will be better once he has thought it through. He is certainly not saying the car broke or anything.”
“He is not even concussed. The technical definition of a concussion you can see in a scan. The possibility is that the change of direction happened so fast that it was like a sort of whiplash of the brain. It didn't actually touch anything, it didn't bruise, didn't bleed… it is a medical situation. I am not trying to conceal anything. It is not appropriate for me to talk about it. He is physically perfect, with no damage whatsoever.”
Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will share testing duties in the car at the Circuit de Catalunya this week.
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