Dreyer & Reinbold IndyCar driver Mike Conway reports he is firmly on his way to making a full recovery from the injuries he suffered in a spectacular crash at the Indianapolis 500. After sustaining multiple fractures to his lower left leg and a compression fracture to his T3 vertebrae, the British driver underwent surgery to repair the damage to his leg and was fitted with a neck brace to heal the compression fracture to his vertebrae. Conway returned to the UK in mid-June to recuperate and last week was able to start work on an extensive and carefully designed rehabilitation program. The first stage of that 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 Conway has worked with for the past three years, put together an initial rehabilitation program designed to gradually increase his return to full fitness. It focuses on key muscle groups through a range of cardiovascular and functional exercises; including swimming and resistance bands, while also undertaking regular sports massages.
Last week marked another significant step in Conway'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 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, while 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 toward making a full recovery and getting back on the track;” commented Pro Formance Director Dan Williams.
Last Wednesday, Conway returned to the cockpit in a single-seater racing simulator at the PureTech Racing Center. The Center uses the most advanced simulator technology and includes 10 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 to drivers with restricted movements.
“It is great to be back in the cockpit after the accident seven weeks ago.,” said Conway. “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.
“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,” he added.
Dreyer & Reinbold indicated earlier this month that it hoped to have Conway back in a car for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway in August.