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F1 attendees, drivers to take part in medical research

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Attendees of this year's F1 race, drivers included, will take part in medical research. It has the attention of physicians across the globe.

Seton physicians have just established an event research institute. It's the first of its kind.

While Formula One fans watch the race cars and the drivers keep their eyes on the track, a team of Seton physicians will be watching them.

"It's an untapped area of science right now," Seton Physician Dr. Christopher Ziebell M.D. said.

Dr. Ziebell and 11 other Seton healthcare physicians have established an Event Medicine Research Institute. That decision was based on lessons learned at the race last year.

"We thought of everything we could think of up front. We had a medical center there that was fully equipped and ready to go. Much to our surprise the first three patients we saw had Malaria," Dr. Ziebell said.

Ziebell explains those patients were members of a race crew.

"The week before they were here in Austin they were in Abu Dhabi and when they were in Abu Dhabi they got bit by a mosquito that transmitted Malaria," Ziebell said. "We had to move those folks to Seton Medical Center because we didn't have everything we needed to test out there."

That will not happen this time around.

"Since then we've been very conscious about what has the entire cycle been like leading up to then and what diseases are endemic in those areas so we're ready to manage those illnesses," Ziebell said.

Other lessons are much simpler.

"How many doses of Tylenol do we need to have on hand for that crowd," Ziebell said.

As many large scale events that occur in major cities around the world, it's difficult to find published data like how many IV bags to have on hand for a certain amount of people. Since the creation of the research institute several months ago, the Seton doctors have already submitted data.

Dr. John Bedolla's most current study involves sound.

"What we want to do with that is generate a data base, be able to tell participants or spectators where they may expect to hear sounds above about 90 decibels and above 120 decibels so if they chose to do so they can wear ear protection in those areas," Dr. Bedolla said.

In addition to the Circuit of the Americas, the doctors have partnerships with Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Laguna Seca in Florida. Bedolla has been to all three. He is also looking to publish injury data from crashes involving Moto GP racers and F1 drivers.

"That will help in terms of someone being able to predict if they see a motorcyclist wreck in a certain type of way what their medical needs are likely to be," Bedolla said.

The research is not limited to racing. Those in the music industry also need the data.

"I had a conversation with C3 presents they do SXSW and ACL that's one of the frustrations they have they learn a lesson in Austin and then 6 weeks later they're learning the same lesson in Scotland, 6 weeks later learning the same lesson in Brazil. They're sort of frustrated with the current state of the art from medical providers that we're not learning lesson and sharing like we should," Bedolla said.

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