Skip to content

GRAND-AM driver provides medical analysis of driver deaths

Jun 24, 2013, 3:30 PM EST

FRA-AUTO-LEMANS Getty Images

One of the best pieces published following Allan Simonsen’s fatal accident Saturday at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was done by Dr. Jim Norman, a parathyroid surgeon and racer in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

Norman and fellow surgeon Dr. Jim Lowe, a neurosurgeon who has also competed in GRAND-AM, have published an extensive list of the medical terms that have caused fatal injuries to racing drivers. The article is published in the Parathyroid blog of Norman’s website, parathyroid.com.

An official cause of death for Simonsen’s accident has not yet been determined. However, Norman estimates the likely cause is related to a sudden deceleration injury, either to the brain or aorta. An excerpt below:

Although we do not know the actual cause of death of Allan Simonsen at yesterday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, reports are that he was conscious and talking when rescue workers first tended to him, only to have him become unconscious a few moments later, to be pronounced dead a short time later. He was driving in one of the most modern sedan-type cars (not open-cockpit) and his factory sponsored Aston Martin had every possible modern piece of safety equipment. There was no evidence of penetrating injuries, and no evidence of blunt force trauma. Thus the likely cause of this terrible tragedy is almost certainly to be related to a sudden deceleration injury, either to the brain, or to the aorta.

Video of Simonsen’s accident has been hard to find, but what is known is that Dane lost control of his Aston Martin at the 100 mph-plus right-hand kink called Tertre Rouge. The car snapped across and contacted the Armco barrier on the corner exit; a tree is right behind at that part of the course.

Although the article is long, considering the medical expertise Norman and Lowe have and the fact they have entered the world of sports car racing, the full piece is a must-read.

Latest Posts
  1. Mercedes leaving no stone unturned in bid for a second world title

    Feb 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg AP

    Technical chief Paddy Lowe working on improved reliability in 2015 after some issues last season.

  2. Mercedes and Williams unveil 2015 cars as F1 testing begins

    Feb 1, 2015, 5:00 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Jerez - Day One Getty Images

    F1 pre-season gets underway in Jerez with the first public test.

  3. Red Bull RB11 launched in camouflage testing livery

    Feb 1, 2015, 4:35 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Jerez - Day One Getty Images

    Something out of the ordinary from Red Bull as pre-season testing begins in Jerez, Spain.

  4. Jimmie Johnson likes new Chase format, but misses the one that brought him six championships

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:09 PM EST

    jimmie johnson 2015 media tour AP AP

    Given the way the 2014 season turned out for him, Jimmie Johnson would have preferred to see the old Chase for the Sprint Cup format rather than the new elimination format.

  5. NHRA: Alan Johnson Racing moves forward without Al-Anabi

    Jan 31, 2015, 5:13 PM EST

    Alan Johnson (Photo courtesy AlanJohnsonRacing.com) Alan Johnson (Photo courtesy AlanJohnsonRacing.com)

    With Al-Anabi Racing now defunct, team owner Alan Johnson has picked up the remnants and intends on racing one Top Fuel dragster, with 2013 champ Shawn Langdon behind the wheel, in at least the first two races of the 2015 season.

  6. Jeff Gordon: Chase Elliott is ‘right guy’ to keep driving No. 24

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:01 PM EST

    jeff gordon no. 24 Getty Getty Images

    Jeff Gordon wanted to see his successor continue on the legacy of the No. 24 car. Chase Elliott is happy to continue that tradition.

  7. Gutierrez enjoying life with Ferrari in third driver role

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Ferrari Car Launch Getty Images

    Mexican driver is excited for the return of his home grand prix in November, even if he won’t be racing.

  8. Indy Lights notes: Juncos leads oval test, Chilton digs ovals, Piedrahita confirmed

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    News and notes after Indy Lights wraps up its week of testing in Homestead.

  9. Richard Childress Racing settles lawsuit with Matt McCall, Jamie McMurray’s new crew chief

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:21 PM EST

    Matt McCall (Image courtesy racing.quickenloans.com) Matt McCall (Image courtesy racing.quickenloans.com)

    Richard Childress Racing and Matt McCall have reached settlement on a lawsuit that sought to keep McCall from becoming Jamie McMurray’s crew chief for the 2015 season.

  10. Perez “extremely motivated” for new F1 season

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Mexican Driver Sergio Perez Visits Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit Getty Images

    Mexican driver feels that Force India’s hunger can take the team up the grid this year.

  11. NASCAR: Kenseth’s DeWalt sponsorship schedule revealed

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    Sprint All-Star Race Qualifying Getty Images

    Kenseth and DeWalt are back together, and the six-race sponsorship dates are revealed.

  12. Report: No get-out clause in Fernando Alonso’s McLaren contract

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    McLaren-Honda Announces New Driver Line-Up For 2015 Getty Images

    Ron Dennis makes clear that Alonso is locked into his new contract with the British team.

  13. In interview, Franchitti reflects on life without driving, a full year later

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:30 PM EST

    Dario Franchitti (right) has embarked on a new career path as a consultant for Target Chip Ganassi, with particular emphasis helping his hand-picked replacement and defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Herald Scotland checks in with Dario Franchitti on his new life outside the cockpit.

  14. Rosberg and Hamilton ready for the rematch in 2015 (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Germany F1 Stars and Cars AP

    Prepare for round two with Hamilton and Rosberg as they set their goals for the season ahead.

  15. Preparation key for all-rookie Toro Rosso line-up in 2015

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    © Toro Rosso © Toro Rosso

    With a combined age of 37, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. forge the youngest line-up in F1 history in 2015.

  16. NASCAR AMERICA: Drivers predict Super Bowl XLIX winner (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    superbowl_nbc

    Patriots or Seahawks? NASCAR’s top drivers make their picks for Sunday’s Big Game.

  17. Watch how Ferrari’s new F1 challenger gets stickered up (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Ferrari Car Launch Getty Images

    Watch a time lapse video of how the Ferrari SF15-T gets stickered up in advance of the 2015 season.

  18. Toro Rosso reveals STR10 ahead of Jerez test

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:21 AM EST

    © Toro Rosso © Toro Rosso

    Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. lift the covers from the team’s 2015 car, marking its tenth year in F1.

  19. NASCAR: Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez, ex-NFL WR Willie Gault win Gridiron Challenge (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    NASCARGridiron

    Highlights from the special event featuring NASCAR drivers and former NFL stars.

  20. Kvyat raring to go ahead of pre-season testing (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Kvyat 311 Getty Images

    He may have risen rapidly up to a seat at Red Bull, but Daniil Kvyat is not feeling under pressure.

More from NASCAR America

Elliott: 'Common bond' unites inductees
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. C. Elliott (1746)
  2. J. Gordon (1275)
  3. R. Blaney (1226)
  4. C. Custer (1210)
  5. C. Eggleston (1200)
  1. B. McReynolds (1175)
  2. R. Chastain (1150)
  3. N. Drake (1137)
  4. A. Almirola (1064)
  5. K. Larson (1023)