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Infield medical center plays vital role for driver & fan safety at IMS

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — It may be a small building, but it plays a critical role. The Emergency Medical Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway serves fans, drivers, and their team members.

Staff can treat most ailments at this facility, except for a major medical emergency.

“Anything from basic musculoskeletal injuries, cuts and bruises, and falls, rolled ankles to dehydration, and overindulgences and strokes and heart attacks and diabetic emergencies,” said Dr. Julia Vaizer, Medical Director at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Vaizer supervises a team of nurses and doctors at the speedway while they travel the 17 sites along the NTT IndyCar circuit. Much like a hospital, the clinic carries a supply of blood.

“The thought behind that is there are rare circumstances and this is something we’ve learned from the past, it may take longer to extricate the driver because of which position they are in and we want to be able to start that blood before they get to Methodist Hospital,” Vaizer said.

IndyCar emphasizes driver safety and there is a strict concussion protocol that focuses on preventative care.

“Some of the things we pay attention to is not only symptoms the drivers’ experience but we measure the G force their heads experience during the moment of impact,” Vaizer said.

In 2022 Dr. Vaizer was named the medical director for IndyCar and IMS, the first woman to hold that position. She isn’t overlooking the significance of being a trailblazer in a male-dominated sport.

“It’s a very humbling experience, it’s exciting, it’s inspiring, I’m very proud to be in this role, but I’m also very humble to be in this role,” Vaizer said.

Besides the Indy 500, there are 60 other days on the race calendar at IMS. The medical center is open during each of those events.