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Silver Crown
Thursday, 4 November 2010




Courtesy of Robin Miller,


Less than a month after his wicked accident at Terre Haute, Ind., race driver Shane Hmiel is heading home to North Carolina to begin rehabilitation.


“Shane still has a lot of healing to do but we’re pretty darn happy about the way things are progressing,” said Steve Hmiel, who checked his son out of Methodist Hospital on Thursday morning and flew him to a special spinal ward in Charlotte.


“When we first got here, some people thought he might be in intensive care until Christmas but the doctors keep telling us they just can’t believe how far this kid has come in four weeks.


“It’s just amazing and his mother, brother and I are so thankful for the great care he received here in Indianapolis and all the friends who came by or called to check on him.”


The 30-year-old racer suffered a broken neck, broken back and some artery damage in a violent crash during qualifying for the USAC Silver Crown race on Oct. 9 at the Vigo County Fairgrounds.


Dr. Saad Khari performed two major surgeries within the first 48 hours, installing a pair of 8-inch rods in Hmiel’s back and supporting screws in his neck.


“They also found a broken shoulder blade and that was limiting his ability to move his arm but everything is looking good,” continued Hmiel, the veteran NASCAR mechanic/fabricator/team manager who currently works for Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates.


“He still has a vent but that’s just in case of emergency and when we get home he’ll be able to start talking and eating. He’s very aware of what’s going on and he was sitting up in a chair watching the Colts on Monday night.


“He knows he drives race cars for a living but he doesn’t remember anything about the crash.”


Hmiel’s spinal cord was bruised by the horrific impact which peeled off the roll cage but he didn’t suffer any fractures, which bodes well for walking again.


“His lower back is still too swollen but he can feel it when you squeeze his toes and he’s got good circulation so we’re cautiously optimistic,” said his father.


“I mean, it’s still scary but Shane’s quick recovery has been comforting.”