September 20, 2017

Motorsport racing after back surgery

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

It was an exciting time for dirt sprint car driver Robert Ballou as he celebrated his victory with USAC Indiana Sprint Week on July 16, 2017.

USAC Indiana Sprint Week is seven nights of racing in a nine day period; it is the most competitive week of racing for drivers. Competitors come from all over the country to compete for an Indiana Sprint Week Championship title.

Back injury

However, it was a bumpy ride to the finish line for Robert before the big win. In 2016, Robert was in a motorsport crash at the Calistoga Speedway. Luckily, Dr. David Schwartz, OrthoIndy spine surgeon was able to get Robert back to normal.

Robert has been racing ever since he was five years old. His passion for racing has taken him around the country and allowed him to meet people from all over. His entire family has always had an interest in cars. “I don’t know anything else other than racing,” Robert said. His love for racing led Robert to create his very own business in 2013, Robert Ballou Motorsports.

During Labor Day weekend of 2016, Robert was racing a Sprint car in Napa Valley, California at Calistoga Speedway when he suffered from a broken spine as a result of a crash. “The cage on my car had collapsed and my head had hit the dirt,” Robert shared.

Robert was initially rushed to his first of three hospitals. The first hospital decided Robert needed to see a different physician at another hospital. However, the second hospital didn’t have the answers and Robert was then life-lined to a third hospital.

At the third hospital, the physicians told Robert he would need surgery. However, after a few days at the hospital the physicians then decided against surgery.

After four days of being at the hospital, Robert was put into a cervical spine brace and the doctors sent him home. Robert was told he would be healed in eight weeks. However, after four days of being in excruciating pain, Robert thought he would never feel better.

At that point, Robert called a friend, who is also an IndyCar driver, and he referred Robert to OrthoIndy.

Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Back surgery

Robert was referred to OrthoIndy physician, Dr. Kevin Scheid. Dr. Scheid frequently sees IndyCar drivers and helps with their injuries. However, Dr. Scheid is not a spine specialist so he referred Robert to his partner and spine surgeon, Dr. David Schwartz.

As soon as Robert made an appointment at OrthoIndy, he flew back to Indianapolis to meet with Dr. Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz determined that Robert needed surgery. In October 2016, Robert had cervical spine surgery to repair his back.

“The first time I met Robert I told him he would need cervical spine surgery to prevent him from being paralyzed,” said Dr. Schwartz. “After watching his demeanor and intensity, I could tell from that moment he would make it back to racing.”

“It was apparent no one could fix me until I showed up to OrthoIndy,” said Robert. “If you get hurt, the first thing you need to do is go to OrthoIndy. Dr. Schwartz is great at what he does. From the first day I showed up, I was taken care of.”

Robert feels like a whole new person. “I am fortunate to be alive and thankful for Dr. Schwartz fixing me back to new,” said Robert. “People take things for granted and even though I love racing cars in circles, I’ve realized there are more things to life.”

Robert recommends anyone who is considering back surgery to see Dr. Schwartz. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” said Robert. “The nurses and Dr. Schwartz know what they are doing.”

Once Robert was ready to race again, Dr. Schwartz went and saw Robert race. “I really do consider all of my patients to be like family, and watching Robert race again at the Bloomington Speedway was amazing,” said Dr. Schwartz.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Schwartz, please call 317.802.2883 or learn more about OrthoIndy Neck and Back Pain treatment options.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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