As you walk through the crowded streets filled with coolers, food vendors and loud fans you start to see the pagoda in the distance. The piercing zing of the cars racing by begins to fill your ears while you squeeze through the cheering crowd to enter the world’s largest sporting facility. It is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and that only means one thing in Indianapolis, billed as ‘the greatest spectacle in racing’, the Indianapolis 500.
Considered to be the biggest one-day sporting event in the world, it is no surprise that nearly 250,000 plus fans pour through the gates beside you to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The noise of the cars racing by is almost deafening now as you make your way to the bleachers. Upon finding your seat you anxiously await for the cars to come zooming by.
You can hear the loud engines before the cars even round the turn. Your seat begins to rumble and you can feel your heart beating in your chest. The first car rounds the turn, then all at once the rumbling cars fly by before your eyes and just like that the drivers are gone again. The crowd roars for their favorite drivers and you high-five your fellow race fan. It’s race day in Indianapolis!
Davey Hamilton, although retired from the series now, is a favorite driver of many racing fans. Davey has been racing for the majority of his life and has participated in the Indianapolis 500 and other races like it many times. In fact, Davey can’t imagine doing much else with his time. But there was a moment when his favorite hobby was nearly taken away from him.
In 2001, Davey was racing in Texas when a fellow driver lost an engine during a turn. This caused the driver to lose control of his car and make contact with Davey’s car, which slammed into the wall and began to spin a number of times before coming to rest against the inside retaining wall.
“You know I looked at it a lot of different ways,” said Davey. “When you are young you think you are invincible. I have been in thousands of races with not even a scratch. It had started off just another race, but timing was bad. Once my car went over the wall and hit the fencing and the poles I really felt the hit. I knew I had to do a lot of praying and hope for the best at that point.”
Medical professionals rushed to Davey’s car hoping there wouldn’t be much injury for him. However, Davey didn’t know he would actually come face-to-face with one of his biggest fears in a matter of moments.
“They took me to the infield med center. I heard the call saying that it appeared to be a double amputee. At that time I thought someone got hurt bad in that accident. But after looking around I realized I was the only guy in the infield med center. That’s when I knew it was me and it was difficult to process those words.”
Fortunately, Davey had the right physicians there that day to help him through his recovery and get him back to where he needed to be.
“Without any doubt in my mind if it wasn’t for OrthoIndy, I would be sitting here as a double amputee,” said Davey. “They’re the ones that saved my legs.”
After the crash, Davey was forced to take a break from driving. He spent the next year in and out of surgery to reconstruct his feet and legs. After five months, he could stand again but he still had to spend a lot of time in a wheelchair.
“OrthoIndy has been great for me,” said Davey. “Since the major surgeries early-on, there have been some minor ones that I have been able to come to OrthoIndy for and be an outpatient. OrthoIndy has become my family. I continue to do things with all the physicians that helped me. Not only are they my friends but they have also become my family. They were able to make my life great again.”
Davey was determined to get behind the wheel again and in 2005 he started taking small steps to return to racing. In 2007 he was able to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and proved to everyone he was back by placing 9th. He continued to race in the series for the next four years until he retired after the 2011 series was complete. However, Davey is still very active in the racing world.
Davey is the color commentator for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network broadcasts. He also owns his own racing team, “Davey Hamilton Apex Racing” and participates in races here and there.
“Today I am still winning races, competing and having a great time.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel please call 317.569.2513 or learn more about treatment for foot and ankle at OrthoIndy.
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