May 4, 2015

Common motorsport racing injuries

Sports Injury | Trauma


Total joint replacement physician Dr. Kevin Scheid discusses common motorsport racing injuries.

A lot of people think of racing injuries as big traumatic events, but what are the smaller less publicized injuries?

There are a lot of overuse injuries to wrists, hands and elbows, especially on road or street courses where the driver is fighting the wheel the entire race. Similarly, the pit crewmembers frequently have overuse injuries to the back, elbows and knees.

What are the most common racing injuries you see?

Thanks to the improvements in car safety, severe injuries are less frequent. Yet, in a severe crash we still see spine, leg and head injuries. Because more races are on road courses versus oval courses, minor overuse injuries are more common.

What is the typical treatment process like for these injuries?

When a major injury occurs, the driver’s injury is stabilized at the track hospital or in a helicopter transit to the local trauma center.

After a full assessment is completed, any urgent orthopedic procedures are performed. If the driver is out of town they are usually transferred back to Indianapolis for further reconstructive procedures. In rare cases this can involve up to 10 additional surgeries.

How long does it take to recover from some of these injuries?

Recovery depends on the type of injury. With multiple extremity fractures or spine fractures, or even both, a driver can be out of a car for two to four months and sometimes even longer. Fortunately, they heal and rehabilitate quicker than the average person due to their health and mental drive.

Are there certain precautions or conditioning practices a driver can do to avoid injuries?

Certainly. Nearly all the drivers have realized that working out regularly is a big help. Fatigue and secondary weakness or lapse of attention can be responsible for mistakes that cause accidents. Therefore none of them smoke, most don’t drink and all work out regularly.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Scheid, please call 317.917.4363. or learn more about total joint replacement at OrthoIndy. 

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