Tony Stewart is one of the most famous names in NASCAR racing and has been for quite some time. Many fans were upset to see Stewart injured after riding a sand buggy in the Glamis Sand Dunes of the California desert. Because of this accident, Stewart obtained a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra, which bears all the weight of the upper body. This is a serious injury, that will take a long time to recover from, but the important thing Stewart is focusing on, is that he can make a full recovery.
Medical opinions on Stewart’s injury
There have been several medical opinions given by a variety of doctors who have looked into Stewart’s case. All of them agree that it is going to be a long road to recovery. Jim Lowe, a neurosurgeon and former racer, stated that Stewart’s long-term prospects look good. A typical surgery for this injury would include fixing the injured area with rods and screws, which might even make Stewart stronger than before. Dr. Paul Fuchs, an orthopedic spine surgeon with the Orthopedic Specialists of SW Florida, agrees that recovery could take up to three months, and possibly longer with any additional neurological problems. Fuchs explained that this can happen if bits of the bone get into the spinal canal. Recent reports claim that Stewart did not suffer any neurological impairments, which is even better for his recovery.
Rehabilitation for Stewart
Of course with this type of injury, Stewart is going to need rehabilitation therapy. Stewart has had other serious injuries in the past. He suffered from a broken hip, pelvis, and collarbone in 1996. In August of 2013 he had a serious pair of compound fractures in his right leg, for which he attended OrthoCarolina, an orthopedic clinic, to receive physical therapy. Other famous racecar drivers have attended the facility for rehab in the past, and so it is more than likely that Stewart will begin therapy at this location. Types of physical therapy expected for Stewart include working on mobility, core strengthening, and pain relief. Overall they will want to get Stewart back to his normal functioning self before he is allowed to even get back in the racing car.
Stewart to miss NASCAR season
Because of his injury, Stewart will miss a majority of the opening NASCAR season, including the famous Daytona 500. Stewart-Haas Racing decided to choose an interim driver for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series set to take place between February 12-21. Brian Vickers will drive Stewart’s famous number 14 vehicle at the Daytona International Speedway. He was the 2003 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion and three- time winner of the Sprint Cup Series, making him a good pick for Number 14, pending Stewart’s comeback.
Recently, Stewart was able to give fans an update on his condition. He says doctors and therapists are starting to get the pain under control, and he has been doing a lot of walking to help his back. Fans know that Stewart is a strong individual and have no doubts that he will be back racing, maybe even sooner than we think!