Memo Gidley has embarked on what is being described as 'a long road to recovery' after suffering multiple injuries in an on-track accident during the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday.
Gidley was behind the wheel of the #99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Prototype when he struck the disabled #62 Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli. The Italian was without power and moving very slowly between turns three and four of the road course when the #99 'Red Dragon' – unsighted by both a car ahead and the setting sun – struck him with fearful force.
Both drivers were admitted to the Halifax Health facility in Daytona Beach following the accident, which brought a lengthy red flag interruption to the race – but, while Malucelli was later discharged, doctors discovered that Gidley had suffered multiple fractures, including his lower left leg and left elbow, along with a compression fracture in his lower back.
The injuries subsequently required the American to have two surgeries. On Saturday, doctors immediately addressed the arm and leg injuries by completing an near four-hour operation shortly after Gidley's admittance, while Monday evening saw them stabilising and repairing the compression fracture in his lower back in a second, extended, surgery.
“The objective is to get Memo into a stabilised condition so that the doctors can figure out what all the issues are,” team owner Bob Stallings said, “We are not at that place yet, and doctors are still evaluating him. The procedures needed to stabilise him aren't finalised yet.”
Stallings has remained at the hospital, and anticipates staying until Gidley returns to Northern California, where the former Champ Car driver's athleticism and physical fitness are expected to assist him on his road to recovery.
“Memo is a competitive person and a fighter,” Stallings added, “And clearly he is drawing on those strengths as he makes his way through this ordeal. Since last night's surgery, he has been sedated all day, so we haven't been able to communicate with him. There is some expectation that later today, if conditions are right, that the doctors may bring him out of the sedation, but that decision hasn't been made yet.”
The goal is to have all medical conditions stabilised over the next 24-48 hours. After that point, the expectations are that he will need a week of rest to gain enough strength for the trip back to Northern California.
“We appreciated the outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers for Memo,” Stallings said, “We plan to share those with him once he is awake enough to understand all the well wishes.”
Doctors continue to evaluate and monitor Gidley's progress. Because of the type of injuries he sustained, the American is expected to spend an undetermined amount of time in a transitional rehabilitation facility but, so far, all of the attending physicians are confident and optimistic of a positive outcome.