In just a flash, NASCAR driver Aric Almirola’s month completely changed.
Heck, his entire life changed.
The 33-year-old racer was hauled out on a stretcher and then airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital after his No. 43 car slammed into Joey Logano’s vehicle at high speed during the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 13.
And the news his doctor gave him was not good. Because of the accident, Aric suffered a compression fracture of the T5 vertebra. Now, he is expected to rest for eight to 12 weeks, according to USA Today.
Yet, the news could have been far worse.
“My doctor here in Charlotte – the first question I asked him was how quick can I get back in the race car,” Aric said in an interview with Fox Sports’ Jeff Gordon on May 20. “If that bone [in my back] is not healed all of the way, and you get in a similar accident, he said you won’t feel anything from your belly button down for the rest of your life. And so that put things in perspective really quick for me.”
Though he’ll miss many races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Aric says he’s happy to comply to doctors orders, as his role as a father to son Alex, 4, and daughter Abby, 3, means everything to him.
“I’ve got a lot of baseball to play with my son, and I’d like to dance with my daughter one day at her wedding,” says Aric. “Whenever the doctors clear me, I’ll be ready to get back in a race car.”