After one of the hardest crashes this season, this driver fractured a part of his spine, which doctors say could lead to paralysis unless he is very careful.
Aric Almirola got tangled up with Danica Patrick and Joey Logano after they had a hard impact during the NASCAR Go Bowling 400 over a week ago, and although his car looked in better shape than theirs, he suffered the worst of the injuries and was hospitalized with a fractured T5 vertebra.
Not long after, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke up with some advice to Almirola, urging him not to return to the track until he was one hundred percent healed and ready to get back at it. Earnhardt had first-hand experience with a possibly career-ending injury last year, but made sure he followed doctor’s orders and worked tirelessly to get himself in tip-top shape.
In a new interview with former NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon, Almirola opens up about the terrifying possibility doctors warned him of.
“If that bone [in my back] is not healed all of the way, and you get in a similar accident, he said you won’t feel anything from your belly button down for the rest of your life,” Almirola says of the doctor’s advice. “And so that put things in perspective really quick for me.”
With two young children at home, Almirola has expressed repeatedly that he absolutely will not do anything to risk his health during the recovery and rehabilitation process. Recently, during a press conference, he and his team explained that they expected him to be out for about 12 weeks, but may be out of the driver’s seat longer depending on the healing process.
“I’ve got a lot of baseball to play with my son, and I’d like to dance with my daughter one day at her wedding,” He continued. “Whenever the doctors clear me, I’ll be ready to get back in a race car.”
Almirola has a lot of rest and physical therapy ahead of him in the coming weeks to strengthen his back muscles and allow the compression fracture in his spine to fully heal. Luckily, he doesn’t have to wear a brace since the location of the T5 vertebra allows his body to act like a natural brace.
Watch Aric Almirola’s full interview with Jeff Gordon in the video below and let us know what you think in the comments.