Racer Robert Wickens To Have Spinal Surgery Following Major IndyCar Crash [Updated]

Photo: AP Images
Photo: AP Images

Following a major crash during the IndyCar race at Pocono raceway yesterday afternoon, racer Robert Wickens will have surgery later tonight for a spinal injury, according to Wickens’ team.

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In the crash during the seventh lap of yesterday’s race, 29-year old Wickens made contact with the car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, sending Wickens’ car up the wall and into the fence, spinning multiple times over the top of Hunter-Reay and coming dangerously close to his head, before crashing down onto and skidding across the field.

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Multiple other drivers were involved in the crash, and everyone but Wickens was able to exit their cars under their own power. Wickens reportedly suffered injuries to both of his legs, his right arm, a pulmonary contusion and an injury to his spine, according to the AP. Wickens was removed from his car with a neck brace and later airlifted to the hospital, and was reported to be awake and alert.

The full extent and severity of Wickens’ injuries remains unclear, and we will continue updating on his condition as more information becomes available.

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 10:25 a.m. ET: IndyCar published an update on Wickens, saying he’s in stable condition after surgery to “stabilize a thoracic spinal fracture associated with a spinal cord injury” from the wreck. Wickens had titanium rods and screws placed in his spine during the surgery, which went without complication, and the severity of the spinal-cord injury isn’t known at this time.

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The announcement also said Wickens will likely undergo more surgeries for other fractures, and that he’s in stable condition. Here’s the full statement, from IndyCar:

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Update: Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 3:13 p.m. ET: Wickens’ race team, Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, announced that it won’t enter his car in the Gateway Motorsports Park event this weekend.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

Its not my imagination that Indy Car is one of the more dangerous professional motorsports series out there right now is it?

Dan Wheldon dead, James Hinchcliffe impaled through an artery and now a potentially paralyzing wreck? I feel like there have been other close calls too.

Doesn’t seem like F1, Endurance/Sports Cars or MotoGP have had a similar run of bad wrecks in recent years. I don’t follow Nascar but if there were major injuries there I feel like we’d hear about it too.

I guess hurtling lightly armored formula cars around ovals inches from each other at 200mph does sound hazardous.