NASCAR Driver Saved by Device Invented at MSU
Anyone who saw the horrific crash this past weekend at the Daytona 500 involving Ryan Newman knew it was one of the worst in the NASCAR circuit. Most didn't expect the driver to survive let alone walk out of the hospital on his own just a few days later. With well wishes and prayers, Newman is home recovering with his family and technology developed right here in Michigan played a big role in making that happen.
The device credited with saving his life was invented at Michigan State and developed by former MSU professor Robert Hubbard. Known as the HANS device, or Head and Neck Support, it was developed by Hubbard along with his brother-in-law, a former racecar driver, Jim Downing. The device is a head restraint that reduces the compression a spine may endure after an accident. The device works by attaching to the helmet of a driver and preventing it from going forward like it would in a normal car with typical seat belts.
Actually developed in the 1980s HANS is not new to the racing world. The HANS was recommended for use by NASCAR in 2001 after Dale Earnhardt died at the Daytona 500, and was made mandatory in 2005. Thankfully, since then no driver has died on the track.
Currently, there is no set timetable for Ryan Newman to return to racing, but the wonderful thing is if he's alive and well and able to make that choice thanks to amazing technology.