What are the requirements for medical cover at motor racing circuits?

Injury. 1999 May;30(4):293-7. doi: 10.1016/s0020-1383(99)00086-8.


Motor racing is perceived as a dangerous sport but few data are available on the incidence and nature of injuries sustained. The medical service requirement at one regional motor racing circuit was assessed by determining the incidence of injuries, the medical interventions required and the need for hospital referral and admission over a 5-year period. Five hundred and twenty-one patients, including support staff and spectators, attended the medical centre, of whom 14% were referred to hospital and 4% required admission. Each competitor had a 4% chance of requiring on-circuit medical attention, 0.6% chance of hospital referral and 0.17% chance of admission per race. Most major accidents involved more than two drivers. Twenty sustained major trauma including five pelvic fractures and two intraabdominal haemorrhages. Emergency intervention included intubation and ventilation in five. There were three deaths from a total of 9000 competitors (mortality rate 0.033%). This study shows that despite the nature of the sport, the mortality rate remains low with prompt skilled medical intervention. Medical personnel should include those competent in dealing with minor medical complaints as well as those with advanced airway management and resuscitation skills. Although national motor sport guidelines recommend a minimum of two attending doctors this would have been insufficient for multivehicle accidents.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence