Newly-named 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens is continuing to undergo surgeries related to his devastating accident at Pocono Raceway last month. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) issued a statement on Thursday, September 6 to discuss their Canadian driver’s condition and the measures taken to mend his body.
After being transferred to Indianapolis’ IU Health Methodist Hospital to repair fractures to both of his legs and his hands, surgeries have been performed without complication on all extremities, the team said. Wickens is expected to be transferred to a rehab facility in the coming days to begin his recovery process, while the spinal injury he sustained remains indeterminate at this time. The severity of this thoracic spinal fracture may not be known for weeks or even months, his physicians said.
“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers and positive energy that has been sent our way since Robert’s accident,” his family said in a statement. “We are blown away by the strength of this INDYCAR community and the support within it. While Robert’s recovery and rehabilitation continue over the coming weeks and months, your loving messages will certainly be a source of encouragement for him.
“As unverified sources immediately following Robert’s accident inaccurately and without permission portrayed his condition as less than severe,” the Wickens family statement continued, “in an effort to remain transparent and open, we are providing a list of Robert’s injuries to truly showcase the severity of what our son/brother/fiancé/friend/teammate has gone through and will be recovering from in the months to come.”
Among the injuries Robert Wickens sustained were:
Thoracic spinal fracture
Spinal cord injury
Tibia and fibula fractures to both legs
Fractures in both hands
Fractured right forearm
Four fractured ribs
Ric Peterson and Sam Schmidt, co-owners of SPM, issued their own statement: “The INDYCAR community has been nothing but supportive the last few weeks. We are grateful for their support as well as the exceptional care given to Robert by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team, the INDYCAR Medical Staff, the surgeons and nursing staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest and everyone at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
“While Robert continues his recovery, we want to make its clear that the No. 6 entry is for Robert Wickens and him only. No matter the amount of time it takes for his full recovery, we will hold that seat for him. Carlos Munoz, the named driver for the last two events on the 2018 calendar, is doing a great job for us to keep the No. 6 owner championship points alive, and we very much appreciate all the hard work he’s putting into helping us finish the season.
“The road to Robert’s recovery will be a long and tough one, but we hope you’ll be alongside us cheering him on. BETTER. STRONGER. FASTER.”
SPM will continue its updates, starting when Wickens is transferred to his rehab facility. Further updates will come directly from Wickens. Alongside his team, the driver will document his recovery process and share updates at appropriate times. The team, together with the Wickens family – and racer Robert Wickens – ask everyone to respect their request for privacy at this time, SPM’s statement concluded. SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt suffered a devastating accident and had to conclude his driving career in 2000; he never lost his love for the sport and continues as a team owner in his chosen field.
The Verizon IndyCar Series concludes its 2018 season next weekend at Sonoma Raceway, where Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon brings a 29-point advantage into a double-points-paying race, over Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi. Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay comprise the top five and have modest opportunities to eclipse Dixon and Rossi should either falter in the season finale.