As part of today's NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference, Jay Frye, general manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports gave a medical update on Jerry Nadeau, driver of the U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix. Nadeau was injured in an accident during Happy Hour practice...
As part of today's NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference, Jay Frye, general manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports gave a medical update on Jerry Nadeau, driver of the U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix. Nadeau was injured in an accident during Happy Hour practice on Friday, May 2, 2003 at Richmond International Raceway.
OPENING STATEMENT BY JAY FRYE:
"First of all, I'd like to thank Winston, NASCAR, and the media members for having us on the teleconference to discuss Jerry's medical condition. Jerry remains in fair condition at Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center. Last Thursday (May 8, 2003) he was moved out of intensive care and into a private room.
"As we previously stated, Jerry suffered head, lung, and rib injuries. He also has a fractured left scapula. Jerry is currently semi-conscious and has not yet been able to communicate verbally. He is responsive and is able to process information. A rehabilitation program has begun and the doctors continue to be encouraged with Jerry's progress although there is no timetable for his full recovery. The Army team, Jerry's wife, Jada, and the Nadeau family would like to thank everyone in the NASCAR community for their continued support and encouragement.
"I want to preface that I am not a doctor. I have seen Jerry five times since the incident, and I will be glad to answer a few questions based on my observations and the hospital reports."
Q: ARE YOU AT LIBERTY TO SAY WHAT THE DOCTORS EXPECT LONG-TERM FOR JERRY?
"There really hasn't been any talk of that. The doctors are very encouraged with Jerry's progress. He continues to be right on course with the injuries he sustained. So at this point we really haven't discussed that."
Q: ARE YOU AT LIBERTY TO SAY WHAT THE HEAD INJURY IS?
"The hospital has classified the injury as 'moderate to severe'."
Q: CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC?
"That's really how they've explained it to us."
Q: IN THE FIVE TIMES YOU'VE SEEN HIM, IS IT HARD NOT TO WALK AWAY WONDERING WHAT HE'S GOING TO BE LIKE WHEN HE'S ALL BETTER?
"We're really very encouraged about where he's at today. The doctors are very encouraged about where he's at today. His recovery is ongoing and it appears that he's right on course. Again, when I've seen him the last five times, he looks good. He looks like Jerry. There is some frustration. You would like him to see you and you would like him to respond to you. He has been responding, but not verbally."
Q: IS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT JERRY IS NO LONGER BEING SEDATED BY THE HOSPITAL?
"Yes, that's correct."
Q: HIS HE GOING TO UNDERGO THE REHABILITATION PROGRAM IN RICHMOND OR WILL HE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE?
"They started the rehabilitation process in Richmond. They are in no hurry to move Jerry. Jerry is in great care where he's at. He will eventually be transferred somewhere in North Carolina, but there's really no timetable for him to be moved."
Q: CAN YOU CHARACTERIZE THE FAMILY'S EMOTIONS ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO TALK TO JERRY FOR 10 DAYS?
"Again, we're very encouraged. Jada is very strong. Jerry's mom and dad are very strong. Jada's family has been there. They have a very good support group. Every day they see signs of him getting better. And that's their motivation. As he gets better, it obviously encourages them, and it keeps them determined and motivated."
Q: WOULD YOU CLARIFY HOW JERRY IS COMMUNICATING? HAS HE TRIED TO TALK YET AT ALL?
"I haven't seen that. I believe every day he is trying to do more. Part of his rehabilitation consists of a physical part, where they are getting him up and having him stand and putting him in a chair and moving him around. The mental part is a stimulus where they are trying to use the television. They had a replay of a race going on, so he was listening to that; and, things that he would smell that would be familiar or recognizable to him. They are doing things like that to try to help the recovery process move along quicker."
Q: WHEN YOU SAY HE'S PROCESSING INFORMATION, DO YOU MEAN THAT HE IS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE NON-VERBALLY - LIKE WITH GESTURES?
Q: IS IT TO EARLY TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT HE WILL RACE AGAIN, OR IS THAT JUST PRE-MATURE TO ASK THAT QUESTION?
"I believe it's pre-mature at this point. Our main concern is with him and with having a full recovery. We're not ruling anything out on his return (like) if, when, where - that type of thing. But it's really too early in the recovery process to have any definite answers on that."
Q: HOW LONG AND HOW FREQUENT ARE HIS REHAB SESSIONS?
"I'm really not sure at this point because it's just starting. We're very encouraged that they're starting it as quickly as they have. But I think there's really not a schedule that's been set, or I'm not aware of one. I'm sure that will change based on how well he's doing. Jerry is a very determined and very motivated young man, which will certainly help and serve him well regarding this recovery."
Q: WITH THE RIB AND LUNG INJURIES, IS HE ABLE TO BREATHE ON HIS OWN OR IS HE ON A RESPIRATOR?
"He's breathing on his own."
Q: IN LIGHT OF ERNIE IRVAN'S SITUATION, HOW ARE YOU AND THE TEAM DEALING WITH THE EMOTIONS OF ALL THIS?
"Thank you. I appreciate that concern. The guys are holding up very well. We're all frustrated. We all want to wave a magic wand and make him better. He's our teammate and our friend. We really like Jerry. The frustrating part is that you feel helpless. You want to do something to make it better and make it go away. We think he will recover and we're very encouraged by that. At this point, there's nothing we can do but pray and wait."
Q: WHAT DOCTORS DO YOU HAVE ON JERRY'S CASE?
"I have a name that you can call. The name is Pamela Lepley. She's the director of University News Services. The phone number is: 804-828-6057."
Q: REGARDING HIS PHYSICAL THERAPY PROGRAM, CAN WE ASSUME THAT JERRY HAS FULL USE OF HIS ARMS AND LEGS?
Q: ON THE COMMUNICATION, WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE IT AS ONE FINGER FOR YES, TWO FINGERS FOR NO? OR IS IT MORE HAND-SQUEEZING AND FACIAL GESTURES?
"It's more hand-squeezing and facial gestures. It's really a gradual process right now what he's going through. The doctors are saying he's in a transitional stage of regaining consciousness. I'm sure he's frustrated too (because) you can tell he's really trying. Being as determined and motivated as he is, he's a person who has a hard time sitting still. Again, I really think that's going to help him recover quicker. I wish I knew what was going on, you know, with him. But I really think that's going to help him in the long run."
Q: REGARDING THE DRIVER'S SEAT AND THE ACCIDENT
"We've been able to see the car. We've been able to see the seat and obviously his helmet and the HANS device and all that. Everything appears that it did its job and that it did its job very well. It was just a very violent drivers' side impact. The car was a brand new car. Again, NASCAR is doing a great job. General Motors is doing a great job analyzing. Hopefully this can help enhance the process they've already started that there's something we can learn from that car. But from everything we've seen and heard so far, the car did its job."
Q: REGARDING COMMUNICATION, AND THE REMARKABLE RECOVERY OF ERNIE IRVAN, DOES THAT MAKE YOU HOPEFUL IN JERRY'S PROGRESS AT THIS POINT?
"Absolutely. The only thing that's different is that all head injuries are different. All people react differently to head injuries. So at this point, we're very encouraged by his recovery and where he's at, but we just don't know what the next step is. When you bring up Ernie, ironically if you remember when he retired, Jerry was the one who filled in for us for the last 12 races of that year. It's ironic that these two gentlemen we're talking about are involved."
Q: WHEN YOU SAY JERRY IS SEMI-CONSCIOUS, HOW LONG HAS HE BEEN CHARACTERIZED AS SUCH VS. THE CONDITION HE WAS IN WHEN HE WAS FIRST HOSPITALIZED?
"I believe it was pretty immediate. Again, he's getting better every day. There are more and more responses every day. That's why we're so encouraged. His family is seeing things every day because they're with him 24 hours a day. So, they see things that I wouldn't necessarily see or be aware of right now. He's making improvements every day and the doctors are very encouraged and his recovery seems to be right on course with what injury he has."
Q: OF ALL HIS INJURIES, IS THE HEAD INJURY HIS ONLY MEDICAL CONDITION THAT CONTINUES TO BE UP IN THE AIR?