In early March, Tanner Thorson was involved in a fiery highway crash in Modesto, California, suffering a broken left arm, a broken right foot, a cracked sternum, broken ribs, and a punctured lung.
Now, Thorson is on the road to recovery, working and rehabilitating so he can climb back into a race car.
“It’s obviously been a slow road, but it’s good,” Thorson told Speed51. “I’ve had a few doctor’s appointments, and they’re really happy with my motion in my arm and stuff. My foot’s healing up, getting better and better every day. It’s been hurting a lot lately, but it’s getting better. I definitely can’t complain. I could not be here.”
Thorson considers himself very fortunate that, in all his racing travels, an incident of this nature hasn’t happened sooner and that his instincts as a driver prevented further injury.
“Obviously, car wrecks are nothing to mess around with,” Thorson said. “Sometimes it happens. I was fortunate to be in any more car accidents, to be honest, as many miles as I travel. There’s been a lot of close calls. For the last six, seven years now I’ve traveled about 50,000 miles a year. I think my racing instincts helped me get out of there and be alright.”
The timeline for Thorson to return to competition is still hazy, but thus far his progress has impressed those treating him.
“I’ve heard anywhere from three and a half months to six, seven, eight months,” said Thorson. “It’s all a given on how my body heals. I’ve been seeming to heal pretty quick so far. My arm doctor was in shock when I got in there for the first time and they saw the progress of the motion in my hand and everything. He was really shocked about that. That led me into skipping a hard cast and going to one of those mobile arm deals.
“The foot doctor, I told him, ‘Hey, I want to be well, but I also need to see the fastest way to get back,’” Thorson added. “Honestly, just waiting on the foot doctor to tell me when I can get back. I’ve got pins hanging out of my foot right now. Those will come out in hopefully about four to five weeks. Hopefully, from there, I can start physical therapy.”
While it will be months before Thorson is back in a race car, it was only a matter of weeks before he returned to the racetrack, attending the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars event at Silver Dollar Speedway.
“I had to get back in the sense of not going crazy,” Thorson explained. “Sitting in the house and sitting in the bed for so long, I don’t do that. I’m used to going to bed at three in the morning and waking up at seven, back at the shop. Sitting around like I’ve been doing is about driving me crazy. I had to go there to try to stay sane and not freak out. It was an awesome deal.”
Thorson is also grateful for the outpouring of support from competitors and fans since the accident.
“It’s been great,” said Thorson. “Obviously, you don’t want to have this much publicity off of something bad like this. I think it’s been good for my race fans and me as well, in a sense, keeping me out there.
“The support is awesome and that shows how this racing community is family,” added Thorson. “For them to all reach out and be there, I’ve gotten probably a hundred ‘get well soon’ cards sitting beside my bed. That support is crazy.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo