Will Power missed the IndyCar season opener over the weekend after he was misdiagnosed with a concussion rather than an inner-ear infection that was causing dizziness, headaches and nausea, series and team officials said Wednesday.
Power was a late scratch from Sunday's race because the symptoms he was displaying were indicative of a concussion. He had crashed two days earlier during a practice session, and was sick after winning the pole on Saturday.
IndyCar examined him the morning of the race and determined Power had a mild concussion. But eight hours of testing at the University of Miami Concussion Program showed no evidence of a concussion.
"I had all the symptoms of a concussion," Power said Wednesday. "Obviously I wanted to get in the car. On the other hand, if you've got a concussion, that's very concerning."
Team Penske President Tim Cindric said Power was too ill to drive Sunday and putting him in the No. 12 Chevrolet was never an option.
"With or without the diagnosis, he wasn't going to drive," Cindric said.
"Given the nature of his inner-ear infection, it would have been extremely difficult for Will to pass the SCAT, which is what ultimately led to the concussion diagnosis," said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to IndyCar. "At the University of Miami, they conducted a week's worth of testing in one day, and Will was seen by multiple physicians. The doctors concluded definitively that Will had not sustained recent head trauma."
At Miami and under the care of Dr. Stephen Olvey, Power passed a post-concussion assessment and an MRI was normal during the long day of testing. He was diagnosed with muscle tension that was causing the stiffness in the neck — stiffness could have contributed to headaches. Power is now being treated for the tension in his neck.
Power has been cleared to resume racing and expects to test next Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. IndyCar's next event is April 2 at Phoenix.