Conway on the fast track to recovery
Following his spectacular crash at the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May, British Indy Car driver Mike Conway is now firmly on his way to making a full recovery and returning to the driver’s seat.
|Mike Conway gets into the PTR simulator|
After sustaining multiple fractures to his lower left leg and a compression fracture to his T3 vertebrae, Mike underwent surgery in the States to repair the damage to his leg and was fitted with a neck brace to heal the compression fracture to his vertebrae.
Mike returned to the UK in mid-June to recuperate and last week, thanks in part to his high levels of personal fitness prior to the accident, has been able to start work on an extensive and carefully designed rehabilitation program.
Mike is working with a close-knit team of experts from across the UK on a rehabilitation program that will help him recover from the high-speed accident.
The first stage of the rehabilitation process began when Mike was able to remove his neck brace at the end of last month.
Pro Performance (The Science Behind Sport), a sports science consultancy that Mike has worked with for the past three years, put together an initial rehabilitation program designed to gradually increase Mike’s return to full fitness. The program focuses on key muscle groups through a range of cardiovascular and functional exercises; including swimming and resistance bands, whilst also undertaking regular sports massages as part of the program. Throughout the program Pro Performance will be monitoring Mike’s fitness to ensure that he’s making good progress and a full recovery.
Last week marked another significant step in Mike’s rehabilitation when he had his leg cast taken off. Continuing to work with Pro Performance, Mike has been attending regular sessions in a Kriotherapy rehabilitation chamber. The chamber involves Mike having to endure temperatures as low as -130 degrees for up to four minutes at a time. The treatment helps to speed up the healing process of the bones in his left leg by creating a flushing effect (vasodilatation and constriction of the blood vessels) which helps to remove the waste products at the site of the injury, whilst also supplying the vital nutrients for the healing process.
“We are very pleased with Mike’s progress. As he continues to work through the rehabilitation program he’s in good sprits and working very hard towards making a full recovery and getting back on the track;” commented Dan Williams Pro Performance Director.
On Wednesday, Mike made another significant step towards recovery and returned to the cockpit in a single seater racing simulator at the PureTech Racing Centre.
The PureTech Racing Centre uses the most advanced simulator technology and includes ten full motion racing simulators which allow head to head racing action at over 1.5G and features its own purpose made racing circuit incorporating many of the best corners from the world’s leading tracks. At this stage in his rehabilitation Mike is using a simulator which has been specially adapted to cater for drivers with restricted movements.
“It is great to be back in the cockpit after the accident seven weeks ago. This was the first day my left foot is out of plaster and the first time I put weight on it so I was surprised how well I could hit the brakes. I am pleased to say that it is all there and I have feeling in my foot and it felt good;” said Mike.
“The simulator is very realistic and you can really feel the rear tires working, which is hard to incorporate into a simulator. It gives realistic feel and good feedback, both when shifting up through the gears, and the motion cues are excellent under braking and through high speed corners. It is a good circuit and not easy to get right, you have to work the car and push hard to get a competitive lap time;” continued Mike.
During his first session in the simulator, Mike set a lap time which places him sixth overall in the fastest ever times recorded. He will be returning to the simulator as part of his rehabilitation process and, as he continues to work with Pro Performance on strengthening his left leg, he will be looking to shave more time off his current lap time.