Silence at a NASCAR event is unnatural. Silence in the media center of a NASCAR event is even more unnatural.
Today it was silence as Brian Vickers, along with his physician, Dr. Steven A. Lementani, captured the complete undivided attention of the packed deadline room and explained why Vickers was not racing this weekend, and now, for the rest of the season.
Vickers awoke from a peaceful sleep just before the race at Dover with chest pains. Eventually the pain became too much for Vickers.
After many tests and, as Vickers said, gallons of blood being drawn, a diagnosis was made.
26-year-old Brian Vickers suffers from Deep Vein Thrombosis and Emboli; better known as blood clots in his left leg and lungs.
What exactly is causing this medical condition has not yet been established. Vickers does participate in a variety of extreme sports that could easily be contributing factors, including scuba diving and sky diving.
Dr. Lementani, a specialist in Hematology and Medical Oncology, said they were still running some tests and waiting on a variety of test results. Once these were completed they could hopefully determine the cause and a course of action for a solution.
Vickers was asked if there was a family history involving medical problems, especially this type. His answer was pretty clear; “My family’s medical history is none of your business.”
Vickers did say he felt very lucky to have been diagnosed before any serious damage had been done.
“My family has always told me to see the positive in things. It’s tough to see a silver lining here, but there is one.”
Towards the end of the question and answer session, Vickers’ primary sponsor was brought into question as a possible contributing factor to this illness.
Studies have concluded that repeated use of Red Bull can have adverse effects and may contribute to cardiovascular issues in young people.
Dr. Lementani stated these studies were an abstract, basically something that had not undergone an exhaustive peer review, and the study was pure speculation and presented in that form.
Casey Mears has replaced Vickers in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, and except for a road course, is expected to be in the car for the duration of this year.
Photo Credit: David L. Yeazell