BUSCH: Andy Santerre Condition Update 99-03-31

Santerre Mending; Looking Forward to Busch Series Return Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, the 1998 Raybestos "Rookie of the Year" on the NASCAR Busch Series, who is recovering, on schedule, at his home in Harrisburg, North Carolina...

Santerre Mending; Looking Forward to Busch Series Return

Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, the 1998 Raybestos "Rookie of the Year" on the NASCAR Busch Series, who is recovering, on schedule, at his home in Harrisburg, North Carolina plans to be back in the #47 MONRO Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway on June 5, 1999.

Santerre, the former NASCAR Busch North Series standout, suffered a right leg injury in a lap-24 accident in the season-opening Napa Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway. He was flown, by private plane, to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he successfully underwent surgery on Monday, February 15, 1999 to repair the multiple fractures in his right leg. He was released from the hospital on Sunday, February 21, 1999 with some extensive hardware in his leg - three stainless steel plates and over 20 screws.

The 30-year old Santerre, suffered five closed fractures on his tibial plateau (upper part of the large bone in the lower leg just below the knee) and one closed fracture on his fibula (small bone on the outside of the lower leg).

Dr. David Martin, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the surgery on Santerre, remains optimistic of a full and complete recovery.

According to Santerre's wife, Sue, "The doctor says for a break and for just having surgery, Andy's leg looks great, even better than he anticipated. We have had two doctor appointments since the procedure and the doctor is very pleased with Andy's progress and the healing of the bone. We have another appointment on April 13, 1999 but, according to the doctor, everything is healing wonderfully."

Santerre was instructed to stay off his right leg for eight weeks, that eight weeks will be over April 12, 1999. But, grueling physical therapy will replace the crutches as Santerre tries to regain top-form.

"I'm feeling better everyday," Santerre admitted. "It was rough right after the accident, I was in a lot of pain and I went from being active and on the go all the time to being able to do nothing at all. I've lost over 17 pounds and I wasn't overweight before. I am 158 pounds right now at 6' 2" but it is mostly the loss of muscle. I just need to remind myself that this is only temporary and focus on getting better and back healthy." Santerre continues, "I didn't have the best mental outlook a few weeks ago, I'll admit, but I started more extensive physical therapy at the Miller Clinic in Charlotte and I have a lot to work toward and to look forward to."

Santerre started in-house physical therapy two days after his release from the hospital. In-house therapy lasted a month, but without being able to walk on his leg and with no equipment or apparatuses Santerre wasn't able to do a lot more than try to get range and movement back in his knee and build stamina on the crutches.

Santerre started out-patient therapy at the Miller Clinic last week and his improvement has already been tenfold.

"The day I walked into the Miller Clinic I didn't know what to expect. It had been highly recommended to me by Steve Park and Ricky Craven. I knew they were good, but the hope they have given me and the progress I have made in only three sessions is beyond belief." Santerre adds, "When I started at the clinic, I could only straighten my knee to 10 degrees and I have it down to four degrees already. They are used to working on athletes and they know how important it is for me to get back in the car as soon as possible."

Santerre receives therapy three times a week for two hours at the clinic and has a list of exercises to do at home three times per day, everyday. It is a lot of work, but Santerre knows the more he puts in to therapy, the more he will get out of it and the sooner he will be back on the race track and in his #47 MONRO Racing Chevrolet.

"My therapist asked me what my goals were and what my projected return date was," Santerre explained. "My ultimate goal would be to get back in the racecar for the Busch race at New Hampshire International on May 8, 1999, but my projected return date is June 5th at Dover." Santerre finishes, "Regardless of dates, I want to be 100% healthy when I get back in that race car and I don't plan on getting back in until I am 100%. I'd rather miss a New Hampshire and the rest of May and be completely healed than to take a chance of re-injuring a not completely healed leg."

Santerre continues to be involved with the day to day race program at Innovative Motorsports and is kept informed of the team's progress while they are at the track. Santerre is counting the days until he is piloting his car again, but getting healthy is his main focus right now.

"I'd be more stressed out about getting better and back in the car if the team wasn't doing so well and Elliott (Sadler) wasn't such a good driver," Santerre confirmed. "We are improving every week and if we didn't have engine and equipment failure in the last few races, we would be right in the thick of things. Knowing that the team is running smoothly and that they aren't struggling is making my recovery easier."

Andy and Sue Santerre want to thank everyone who has called, sent their well wishes, and kept Andy in their thoughts and prayers.

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Drivers Steve Park , Ricky Craven , Forest B