Mark Martin makes expected progress

Martin makes expected progress in recovery By Dave Rodman NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 1999) As NASCAR Winston Cup Series fans would expect from "tough guy" Mark Martin, the driver of Jack Roush's Valvoline/Cummins Fords is making good...

Martin makes expected progress in recovery By Dave Rodman

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 1999) As NASCAR Winston Cup Series fans would expect from "tough guy" Mark Martin, the driver of Jack Roush's Valvoline/Cummins Fords is making good progress in his recovery from back surgery he underwent Monday morning at Bert Fish Medical Center.

And also what is not surprising is the outpouring of prayers, concerns, cards, letters and other offerings on Martin's behalf from his contemporaries and fans.

"I'm feeling better today," Martin said Wednesday in a statement relayed through his business manager, Benny Ertel. "I really want to thank everybody for their prayers and concern, and their cards and letters and fruit baskets.

"I want to let the fans know it's (recovery) going to be a long process."

Martin underwent a successful lumbar fusion Monday morning. The procedure was performed in an attempt to relieve a majority of the back pain Martin has dealt with for several years. Martin's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Chuck Kollmer, said most patients who undergo the procedure are usually sitting up in bed by the next day.

Martin, Ertel said, walked down the hall outside his hospital room Tuesday with the aid of a walker.

On Wednesday Martin had much of the major bandaging and "electrical accessories" removed, Ertel said. The 40-year-old athlete was able to shower and shave and in the afternoon he began a program of getting out of bed for 20 minutes every two hours to begin the process of preparing him to leave the hospital by some time Friday, Ertel said Dr. Kollmer told Martin.

Ertel said Martin's bedroom at his home has been set up to include all the amenities he is used to at the hospital. On Saturday a full-time nurse will begin daily visits there.

Also on Saturday, a physical therapist from Dr. Kollmer's office who lives near Martin will start a limited program of upper extremity workouts, Ertel said. Next week Martin plans to begin lower extremity workouts as well in what is planned as a heavy five- to six-week rehabilitation schedule.

In the meantime though, and again predictably, Martin has let no grass grow under his feet. In addition to taking calls from NASCAR President Bill France and his wife Betty Jane; Mike Helton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of NASCAR; and fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Mike Skinner; Martin has also been on the phone with Roush and his crew chief, Jimmy Fennig.

Martin's teammate Jeff Burton also rang Ertel's cell phone, looking for an update on his racing partner and close personal friend. Ertel said he handed the phone to Martin and one of the first things the recuperating driver said, after exchanging greetings, was "was your car pushing as bad as mine was Sunday?"

"I guess he's starting to come around," Ertel said of Martin's progress.

nascar.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Mike Skinner , Jack Roush , Mike Helton , Mark Martin