LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2000 - Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt, paralyzed in a testing accident Jan. 6, is scheduled to be transferred today from Orlando Regional Medical Center to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and ...
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2000 - Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt, paralyzed in a testing accident Jan. 6, is scheduled to be transferred today from Orlando Regional Medical Center to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine Spinal Cord Injury Program in St. Louis, Treadway Racing officials announced. Schmidt's family and friends selected the Barnes-Jewish/Washington University program after a week of comprehensive research, team spokesperson Ruthie Culbertson said. The Barnes-Jewish/Washington University program provides state-of-the-art medical, surgical, rehabilitative and long-term care for individuals with a spinal-cord injury. The program also is a leader in research and implementation of medical and surgical treatments for spinal-cord injuries. Schmidt suffered a spinal fracture in the accident during the league's Open Test at Walt Disney World Speedway. He is breathing with the aid of a respirator and is awake, alert and aware of his surroundings, Culbertson said. Schmidt, 35, continues to suffer from paralysis from the clavicle down, Culbertson said. But he is upbeat about his transfer to the St. Louis program. "Let's rock and roll," mouthed Schmidt, who is still unable to speak due to the respirator. "I want to get going." Neurosurgeon Dr. Phillip St. Louis used a pin and a bone graft to fuse Schmidt's C-3 and C-4 vertebrae during surgery Jan. 6. Schmidt was testing with other Indy Racing drivers in preparation for the season-opening Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 29.
Cards and letters can be sent to Schmidt at: Sam Schmidt c/o Ruthie Culbertson Treadway Racing 6017 W. 71st St. Indianapolis, IN 46278
Donations to CARA Charities, IRL Ministries or Speedway Children's Charities in Schmidt's name are encouraged in lieu of flowers and gifts. Donations should be sent to the above address.