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Robert Wickens Undergoes Spinal Surgery

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In the latest medical update on Robert Wickens released from the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver underwent surgery on Monday night at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest to stabilize a thoracic spinal fracture associated with a spinal cord injury.

“Titanium rods and screws were placed successfully in Wickens’ spine during the surgery, which was performed without complication,” the statement continues. “The severity of the spinal cord injury is indeterminate at this time. Wickens is expected to undergo further surgeries to treat fractures in his lower extremities and right forearm. He remains in stable condition.

“Further updates will be provided when available.”

Battling for position on Lap 7, Wickens made contact with the back of Ryan Hunter-Reay, before going over top of the No. 28 DHL Honda’s nose, over across the top of the wall, and into the catchfence where he spun like a top before landing.

Hunter-Reay was uninjured in the crash, stating his thoughts were with his fellow competitor and he was “just lucky to get out of that one.”

“He had a run out of Turn 1, came up along the side of me, but I was in the draft of (Will) Power in front of me so I started pulling ahead,” he added. “Once we got to (Turn) 2 he was at my corner at best. I mean barely there. It was one of those corners you’re not up alongside, you know…its…yeah. The first lap of the race. I mean I thought, at that point, I had got to him, cleared him. I even gave room. I left a lane; left a half of a lane, if not more. I’ve gotta look at it again. I was pretty shocked I got hit in the back.

“That is neither here nor there right now – we’re just thinking about Robert. It’s all very very unfortunate.”

Debris from the initial contact would scatter across turn two of the speedway, resulting in other drivers getting caught up in the process, including Takuma Sato, Pietro Fittipaldi, and Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe. While Fittipaldi had a sore right ankle and Hinchcliffe sustained some scratches to his hands from the debris, they were all deemed okay and cleared to drive.

“I took my hands off the wheel when I went backward, and I think some piece of debris came in as I was holding them (my hands) in, kind of just smacked the top of them so I took a bit of a beating, but nothing is broken, just some swelling and some cuts. We’ll rest it up and be fine,” Hinchcliffe said. “Obviously, I’m just hoping Robbie’s (Robert Wickens) alright. Never good to see a car go up (into the fence) like that, but I know he is in good hands. Hopefully, we’ll see him back in the car soon.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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