CHAMPCAR/CART: Christian Fittipaldi Medical Update

Indianapolis, IN (November 14, 1998) -- Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) underwent a 1-hour surgical procedure in Indianapolis on Tuesday for removal of the 14-inch steel rod and the remaining two of four screws which were inserted into...

Indianapolis, IN (November 14, 1998) -- Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) underwent a 1-hour surgical procedure in Indianapolis on Tuesday for removal of the 14-inch steel rod and the remaining two of four screws which were inserted into his broken right leg following an April, 1997 accident in a FedEx Championship Series event at Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Renowned orthopedist Dr. Terry Trammell performed the procedure on an outpatient basis at the Orthopaedics Indianapolis office, and Fittipaldi was released at 12:20 p.m. ET Tuesday. He is scheduled to travel to his U.S. home in Key Biscayne, Fla. on Wednesday, then to his native Brazil later in the week to begin a three-to-four week recovery.

Fittipaldi will be on crutches for a week until he is able to put weight on the right leg. "It is good to have all this behind me now," Fittipaldi said following the surgery. "I was 99.9 % back to normal with the rod in my leg, but it is much better to have it removed. In the back of your mind, you know it is there [in the leg], and in a few weeks, I will be as good as new. I could have had it [the rod] taken out one year after the accident, but I would have had to recover from the operation during the [FedEx Championship Series] season, which wasn't realistic. This recovery will be much easier than the last one, and it's good to know that this is the final step. Dr. Trammell is the best orthopedic surgeon, so that helps me be more comfortable with the situation."

Fittipaldi sustained a broken right tibia and fibula and a broken left foot in the second race of the 1997 campaign. He missed seven events while maintaining a daily 10-hour physical therapy regimen and returned to the car only 65 days after the accident for a test session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He scored a dramatic fourth-place finish at Portland in his return to competition, just 77 days following the accident. Fittipaldi finished 14th in the 1998 FedEx Championship Series with 56 points. He recorded three top-10 finishes in his final five starts, including third-place podium efforts at Road America and Australia.

Source: CART Online

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi