It’s been little more than a year since racing driver and Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi was involved in a collision with a truck while handcycling in Tuscany. Zanardi underwent a number of surgeries to treat the severe cranial and facial trauma he suffered as a result of the crash, though he’s reportedly shown promising steps in his recovery since.
On Thursday, Zanardi’s wife Daniela shared a brief but nonetheless informative update on Alex’s health with BMW, for whom the driver competed in the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona. Daniela described Alex’s condition as “essentially stable” and shed some light on his rehabilitation program:
“One year after the accident, Alex’s condition is essentially stable. He is currently in a special clinic, where he is undergoing a rehabilitation programme. This includes multimodal and pharmacological stimulations under the guidance of doctors, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists and speech therapists to try to facilitate his recovery.”
Later in the interview, Daniela said that while Alex is unable to speak, he can still communicate, and is working to rebuild strength in his vocal cords:
“It has been a very complex process that has required more neurosurgery and been characterised by a number of setbacks. Alex is in a stable condition, which means he is able to undergo training programmes for both his brain and his body. He can communicate with us, but he is still unable to speak. After a long time in a coma, the vocal cords must regain their elasticity. This is only possible through practice and therapy. He still has a lot of strength in his arms and hands, and is training intensively on the equipment.”
Back in January, Italian outlet Corriere della Sera reported (via Autosprint) that one of Zanardi’s doctors said Zanardi was talking after undergoing “awake surgery” — a procedure where the patient is awake and alert during for a portion of time while the surgery is being performed.
At the moment, Daniela says that “no predictions” can be made about when Alex will be able to return home. She also extended thanks to all those sending their love to the 1997 and 1998 CART champion. “We have received so many best wishes for his recovery,” Daniela said. “I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you, on behalf of Alex, for every single message.”
“I would like to tell all those people who are thinking of and praying for Alex that he is fighting,” Daniela said, “as he always has done.” For those of us who know about Alex Zanardi, there was never any doubt.