In the wake of any accident, speculation will abound. In the case of IndyCar driver Robert Wickens’ wreck at Pocono in mid-August, however, misinformation spread by members of the media have forced the family’s hand and encouraged them to release a statement listing his full injuries.
Wickens has been hospitalized since the time of the accident that caused the race to be stopped for two hours while repairs were made to the catch fencing and all five drivers involved in the accident were routinely checked in the medical center. While it was noted that he was to have multiple surgeries and had suffered, among other things, a pulmonary contusion and spinal injuries, exact details weren’t given.
In a statement released earlier today, however, Schmidt Peterson has listed the exact injuries sustained by Wickens in the accident:
Essentially, Wickens suffered fractures to almost his entire body including, most worryingly, his spine. He’s undergone multiple surgeries, but the severity of his injuries is still indeterminate. He’s been transferred to rehabilitation, which is where it’s likely the extent of the damage will be discovered.
Many have noted, however, the mention of “an unverified” source that portrayed Wickens’ accident as less severe than it actually is. And, as the internet is wont to do, they’ve traced things back to a Instagram post by Paul Tracy where the former racer and current NBC commentator made it sound as if Wickens was on the fast track to recovery with only minor injuries.
In being approached on Twitter about those inaccurate comments, Tracy passed it off as being not a particularly big deal:
While curiosity is understandably high in the wake of any serious motorsport incident, it is not anyone’s right to know or release information that has not been willingly cleared by the family of those involved or by the series they’re racing for. If you’ve ever heard the saying “don’t break news that isn’t yours to break”, you know what I mean—especially if that news isn’t correct. It’s an ethical no-go.
It’s incredibly generous of Wickens’ family to provide fans with the exact details of the driver’s accident, but it is also very frustrating to realize that it only had to be done as a way to rectify misinformation being circulated after his accident. It is, as they note, very disingenuous to discount the severity what Wickens and his loved ones are experiencing, and it isn’t fair to the fans who are relying on media personnel for accurate information.
Thankfully, the fact that Wickens is in rehabilitation and that further updates are posited as coming from him directly is a promising sign, one that I personally hope is a good sign for the best possible recovery.
This news comes in the wake of the announcement that Wickens, despite not being able to participate in four races of the season—one of which being the double-points finale at Sonoma—has still secured Rookie of the Year in IndyCar. It’s a testament to his skill as a driver, and we hope to see him healthy soon.