They say sometimes it’s therapeutic to put all your thoughts down on paper; Healing, in a way. That might be what Sebastien Bourdais is attempting with his first-person journal written for autosport.com.
“Your ego takes a big hit when you’re naked in a hospital surgery room. You end up feeling like a piece of meat,” Bourdais writes. It his descriptions of what his life was like shortly after crashing his car during qualifying at the Indy 500 in May. It was a horrific crash almost straight into the wall at 231 mph. His car flipped and caught fire. Bourdais suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip.
“I had some nerve damage and they had to cut a piece of bone to get to the femur, so you’re never quite sure how fast that’s going to recover,” he writes.
Physically, the recovery seemed slow but not when considering how banged up Bourdais was. The prognosis from the doctors said walking again in 8 weeks, back in a race car in 12. Bourdais was back on the track by the end of July, just two months after his accident.
“I didn’t feel much of anything as far as the hip was concerned. Mostly the biggest limitation was the neck, but other than that, it was just a matter of doing laps and regaining confidence,” Bourdais writes. “When I got the all-clear to get back to racing two weeks later, I didn’t have to think twice about it.”
Getting back on the track was important, for his own demons and everyone else’s questions. He writes about wanting to quickly move past the rest of the season because he knew everything he did would be put in the context of the accident.
“It’s perfectly fine that I deal with it, but ideally for the least amount possible and for the shortest duration possible as well. That’s only going to happen when people see me as they used to see me and not as a guy who has survived something and is just coming back.”
2018 is a season that can’t get here soon enough for Bourdais. He knows that the winter layoff means he can’t put to bed any skeptics reservations. For him though, being able to race again in 2017 meant he could get a head start on looking forward.
“For me, it was about making sure that all the mental gremlins were taken care of for next year when hopefully we can fight for something significant,” he writes. “Now I’m that much more comfortable for when I’m going to be back on an oval next year and I’m feeling good.”