Memo Gidley on the mend

January 24, 2015

Memo Gidley on the mend

January 24, 2015


Twelve months ago the sportscar community was shocked by the dramatic crash and injuries suffered by popular former IndyCar ace, Memo Gidley.

Credit: Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA

Credit: Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA

Driving for the pole-winning Gainsco Racing, Gidley was unsighted when he struck the stationary Risi Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli.

The 44-year-old Californian suffered severe leg and back injuries and is still going through a length rehabilitation process. Gidley spoke to the FOX Sports broadcast team tonight during the telecast of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.


Q: What do you remember about the accident?

A: “I really don’t remember it at all. It’s almost like when I watch it, somebody else was driving. To me it just reminds me of what came shortly after that. The accident itself, I feel sorry for who was in the car. It just happened to be me.

“The biggest thing is just time. Obviously there were three surgeries done out at Halifax in Daytona before I got here (in Northern California). But then once I was out here it was rehabilitation, physical therapy – any kind of therapy to help me get back that definitely helped. The No. 1 thing is your body is a miracle. With time it figures out how to get back.

“I’m very hungry [to drive again]. It’s been a year and I’m watching the race on TV now. It’s really such a great memory. We all know when we’re doing things you have higher chance of an injury. That’s part of it. But I definitely want to get back out there, but No. 1 is to get back to 100 percent strong, or nearly 100 percent strong, before I can make that happen.”


Q: What are you doing to get back strong?

A: “I do a lot of things. It depends on the program, everything from weight stretching in the gym, basically tailor made to where I’m at. Cardio, which is still in the gym, although I may be getting back on my bicycle here pretty soon. Also, spending a lot of time swimming in the pool, and also do a lot of other types of therapy, everything from osteopath to physical therapy, to acupuncture to Chinese herbs.

“Now it’s just sort of narrowing down and getting to my program. But, it’s definitely about three or four hours a day in the gym each day.”


Q: What has been the hardest part?

A: “Yeah, early on definitely when you’re dealing with a lot of pain, I’m sure there’s many people around the world who have started the same situation at some point, you’re definitely grasping for stuff that’s going to help you. Now, I’m in the point where I’m sort of narrowing down and some of the stuff I don’t do anymore. But all of the physical therapy, all the gym stuff, all the swimming stuff, all the cardo stuff…stretching, I forgot that. Stretching is a big part of what I’m doing now.”


Q: Does this give a whole generation of fans just a reminder that this is a dangerous sport. But when you get it right, the rewards are worth it?

A: “Oh, racing, I wouldn’t trade my life or what I’ve been doing – I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even knowing now what I’ve been through. Because, first off the racing is a challenge – that first up is something that we really enjoy as drivers. But also, what I really enjoy is just being around a group of people – whether it’s the team, or the series, or the announcers, or the fans. It’s just such a cool environment to be around. And I love it. I can’t wait to get back into it for sure.


Q: Have your heard from your old teammates?

A: “Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s great that the GAINSCO team is getting back out there. It would be awesome if they were at Daytona. But it’s great to see them back out there. I know Jon’s (Fogarty) out there with ESM, which is awesome. I talked to Darren Law, he’s out there running the Flying Lizard team and I talked to Alex (Gurney). So those guys are huge supporters and it’s great to have them on my side, they’ve definitely been on my side.”


Q: Who has helped you the most on your road to recovery?

A: “One of the reasons I wish I could have come out to the race, there’s definitely a few people I want to say thanks to. One’s the safety crew at Daytona, the medical staff at Halifax Health, my current team of doctors and therapists. Everyone who visited me out at Halifax, the GAINSCO team, Bob and Linda Stallings, my teammates who we just talked about.

“Everybody…my fellow drivers, Jim France, the entire IMSA organization. I miss them so much and I really appreciate what they’ve done for me. Again, all of the fans who sent me messages and cards.

“And number one, my family and friends. But number one, my family. Because when times were tough out here, they were the people that were around me. And unfortunately, I wasn’t in the greatest of moods. I love those guys, I love everybody, but I love those guys for what they’ve done for me.”

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