After the huge wreck he was in at the end of the Daytona 500 this week, unbelievably  (at least to me), Ryan Newman walked out of the hospital yesterday. He may have a former Michigan State professor to thank for that. The late Dr. Robert Hubbard.

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Dr. Hubbard was professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at MSU from 1977 until his retirement in 2006. Just last February, Dr. Hubbard passed away at the age of 75. According to the State News, Dr. Hubbard co-invented the HANS device, the device NASCAR drivers wear to reduce the chance of spine compression during high impact crashes. HANS devices were made mandatory in NASCAR in 2005, a direct result of research into the 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Since his death, no NASCAR drivers have died from injuries sustained during a Cup race.

And while we don't know the specifics yet of what injuries Ryan Newman sustained, I think we can assume that without him wearing a HANS device, things might have turned out differently.

Here's the story.