Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson, IndyCar, Pocono, 2018

Wickens suffered spinal cord injury in crash


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IndyCar driver Robert Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in his crash during last weekend’s Pocono 500, the series has confirmed.

The 29-year-old had surgery on a spinal fracture related to the injury yesterday. However the full extent of the damage to his spine is not yet known.

Wickens hit a debris fence at high speed following a collision with Ryan Hunter-Reay on the seventh lap of the race. His car spun violently after being thrown back onto the circuit.

A statement issued by IndyCar on Tuesday described the driver’s condition as “stable”. He also suffered broken legs and a broken arm in the crash.

“Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens underwent surgery Monday, Aug. 20 at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest to stabilise a thoracic spinal fracture associated with a spinal cord injury sustained during the IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 19.

“Titanium rods and screws were placed successfully in Wickens’ spine during the surgery, which was performed without complication. The severity of the spinal cord injury is indeterminate at this time.

“Wickens is expected to undergo further surgeries to treat fractures in his lower extremities and right forearm. He remains in stable condition.

“Further updates will be provided when available,” the statement added.

The IndyCar championship will continue at the Gateway oval on Saturday.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Wickens suffered spinal cord injury in crash”

  1. Really hope Robbie can make a full recovery. It was such a violent and frightening accident.

  2. Not the best of news. But after seeing the crash the fact we are talking about his recovery is the best we could hope for

  3. wow… really hoping he makes a full recovery!

  4. Wow, I heard he broke two legs initially. Best of luck to him- good speed.

  5. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    21st August 2018, 15:32

    Hope he makes a full recovery, he’s so talented I’d love to see him back in an IndyCar if he’s capable mentally and physically.

    1. I believe the doctors hope optimistically that the man is someday capable of using his lower extremities, but that’s just speculation until all the surgeries are done.

  6. Oh man, i wish you all the best, Robbie

  7. Looking forward to Robert’s speedy recovery and seeing him back in his seat.

  8. #GetWellSoonRobertWickens

  9. All the best to Robert, I really hope he can make a full recovery because he has been mightily impressive this season so far.

  10. Echoing all the sentiments above. May the spinal cord injury not be dire.

  11. The Indycar doctors have worked wonders on other drivers extremely serious injuries-Hinchcliffe is a great example.
    Robert could be in no better hands…all the best for him. That was a dreadful accident.

  12. That was one crazy accident, but similar to many crashes on ovals. He’s very lucky not to suffer even more injuries. Wish him a speedy recovery.
    I’m surprised also they don’t use the halo in that series because another car had it’s rollover hoop sliced into two.

    1. It reminds me of Kenny brack’s accident at Texas in 2003. How he managed to survive that is beyond me.

      1. The same Kenny Brack for Mclaren currently if I’m not mistaken

    2. Unfortunately the Halo isn’t suitable for oval racing due to visibility issues (banked turns at high speed). But they have been looking into a aeroscreen-type shield.

  13. I surely do wish Robert well…….. To hell with those Indy Car ovals !!

    1. I agree. Get rid of the ovals. Dangerous and not very exciting. Hoping he is okay.

      1. Disagree – oval racing is what makes Indycar. Indy 500 anybody? Yes it’s dangerous but getting rid of it isn’t the solution. Improving the safety of the catch fencing and other parts of the track and/or car is the way to go. They’ve come a long way already.

  14. Thoracic spinal injury is very unusual, uts a testimony to the forces he sustained. Just wow!

    Better thoracic than cervical, but in any case its serious enough structurally that they operated. If they were quick enough maybe he will regain full function, but the chances are there will be residual problems and in most cases a long road to recovery. Will he be able to drive? Probably, all his upper limb function will be preserved and he may save his lower limbs and visceral functions.

    Why does Indy car have this type of fencing? America is the home of the lawsuit….and i wouldn’t blame Robert if there was a lawsuit after this.

    I am saddened and shocked.

    1. Mog…..The problem imo, isn’t only with the fencing that Indy Cars run around, but the lack of run off space available for these cars, whenever a serious incident occurs. That is the danger as far as I’m concerned, which goes to the heart of the problem for Indy Car oval racing. The fencing is needed to protect the fans, especially during oval races, because of their close proximity of the fans to the track. Let’s not also forget the very high speeds that these cars maintain.

  15. Robert Wickens has been sensational this year. At every race he has been the guy to watch & that I’ve been rooting for. His maiden win was surely just around the corner. Now this, this news is so sad. He has another kind of battle ahead of him, no doubt the toughest challenge he has faced to date. Given the strength of character he has shown in his racing career he is surely up to the test. I wish him all the very best…

  16. Best of luck Rob! Hope he makes a speedy recovery

  17. They have to redesign those catch fence , they are tearing the cars up and guys like poor Robert are the by-product of their terrible deadly design. God speed Robert.

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