Bowman, 29, suffered a concussion in a wreck early in the Sept. 25 race at Texas Motor Speedway. He went on to finish the race but has not competed since.
On Friday, Hendrick Motorsports announced Bowman had been medically cleared to compete following a full evaluation by Dr. Michael “Micky” Collins, clinical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
Alex Bowman cleared to return for Phoenix NASCAR Cup finale
Since it was so close to the start of the race weekend at Martinsville, Va., HMS elected to have Bowman return to his No. 48 Chevrolet in next weekend’s season finale at Phoenix.
“It’s not an easy thing to be here and not be in a race car. It’s cool to be back around my team and see the support from the race fans,” Bowman said. “Having a goal to get back to was important as far as how hard I had to work to get to this point. It was pretty difficult.
“It was 6 a.m. workouts every day followed by a 9 a.m. workout every day. I’ve worked really hard. If I didn’t have the possibility to get back this year, I probably would have pushed things off and not worked as hard. On top of that, the doctors have said I am 100 percent. I think if there was any hesitation there it would be different.
“There was a lot of motivation to get back for the Phoenix race. It’s my last race with Greg (Ives) as a crew chief. I didn’t want to go out with the way Texas went with Greg, you know. I didn’t want sit the whole offseason questioning it. I wanted to get back in the race car.”
Dealing with being sidelined
Bowman said most difficult part of his recovery was “watching someone else driving the No. 48 car on Sundays.”
“That’s not fun by any means,” he said. “It’s just weird not going to the race track. All I’ve ever known is racing and when you’re not going to the track and having to do different things on a weekend is just weird.”
Bowman was the second series driver sidelined this season to miss races with a concussion. Kurt Busch was injured in wreck during qualifying on July 23 at Pocono Raceway and has not raced since.
Bowman said his experience with a concussion was unusual and he didn’t have what he thought were “typical” symptoms.
“Monday (after the Texas race) I didn’t feel great. It was hard for me to identify what was really going on. Typically, when you have a race when it was that hot you kind of feel bad or dehydrated or whatever,” Bowman said.
“Tuesday, I felt great. I ran three laps in my sprint car for an Ally deal. I felt great through all that – totally normal. On Wednesday, I had like a crazy busy day and by the middle of the day I felt pretty bad. That’s when I kind of identified what was going on and went to see the doctors.”
Asked to identify the main issue he had to deal with in his recovery, Bowman pointed to his vision.
“I feel like all the concussion symptoms I would have heard of throughout my career, things like nausea and things like that, I didn’t have any of. I just had a lot of pressure in my eyes, almost like when your sinuses are really plugged up and you have a really bad sinus headache and pressure behind your eyes,” he said.
“That was the biggest thing. From what the doctors say, a concussion hurts the weakest part of your body. I had some vision stuff going – my vision’s not weak – but it was a weak point for me. It just messed with my ocular system and that was the thing that took the longest to recover from.
“I feel 100-percent. I’ve been training harder than ever the last couple of weeks honestly so I’m in a better spot than I was before.”
Source : Motorsport.com