Davidson returns 7 months after crash, broken back

Story Topics

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - Forgive Anthony Davidson for being a little rusty behind the wheel.

It was just seven months ago that Davidson broke two vertebrae in his lower back in a horrific crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Englishman spent four days in a French hospital, six weeks in a full-body cast, another two weeks in a soft shell and then months recovering and rehabbing.

He made his return in the Rolex 24 at Daytona _ and things went better than he anticipated.

Davidson drove five mostly trouble-free stints in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race. His 8Star Motorsports team finished well behind race winner Scott Pruett _ 34th overall and 10th in the Daytona Prototype class.

For Davidson, though, being back in the car overshadowed being in the back of the field.

“I imagine anyone who didn’t do their job for seven months would struggle initially to be quite as sharp as you once were,” Davidson said Sunday. “I can feel every time in the car I’m becoming my old self again.”

Davidson was running third at Le Mans last June when he was bumped by Piergiuseppe Perazzini in a Ferrari. Davidson’s Toyota went airborne before crashing to the pavement and then slamming into a tire barrier.

Davidson was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed he broke the T-11 and T-12 vertebrae in his back, along with other damage.

Davidson never questioned whether he would race again, but the road to recovery was far from easy. After being immobilized for days, he lost balance and dealt with dizziness.

Physical therapists pushed him through rehab, even prompting him to test his back in a go-kart three months after the crash. That gave Davidson some confidence, but he knew the real test would be turning laps around the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

He signed with 8Star last month and got behind the wheel for a test a few weeks ago.

“That was a big moment,” he said. “I had done a bit in go-karting, but that’s not the same. The first time on the banking and you’re with other cars wheel to wheel. It brought back a bunch of memories from the (Le Mans) moment.”

Seeing Ferraris at Daytona brought back even more uneasy feelings.

“It’s funny. I give them a wide berth now when I’m out there,” Davidson said.

The Daytona course is filled with tight turns and bumpy patches, so Davidson wondered how his back would react, especially in the long, grueling stints that come in an endurance race.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like
  • **FILE** In this April 23, 2013 photo, Cuba's former pitcher Conrado Marrero, the world's oldest living former major league baseball player, holds up a baseball with his signature at his home, two days before is 102nd birthday, as he holds an unlit cigar in his mouth in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

    Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday

  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 101-99 win as Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich walks off the court after missing two free throws during the overtime period of Game 2 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they’re no illusion

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches Baylor and Central Florida play during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

    Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race

  • Washington Wizards forward Nene, left, guards Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Early returns show projections of physical Wizards-Bulls series were correct

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after catching a 25 yard touchdown in the first quarter as the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles in Monday Night NFL football at FedExField, Landover, Md., Monday, September 9, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Dan Snyder: DeSean Jackson ‘really a good guy’

  • Celebrities In The News
  • ** FILE ** In this March 19, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2014 file photo shows singer Chris Brown, right, arriving at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. After a brief postponement, singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in Washington. Brown's trial had been set for Monday but was delayed while lawyers tried to work out whether his bodyguard will testify. It's unclear whether the trial will start Wednesday, as Brown's lawyers seem to want, or if further legal maneuvering will delay it.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    Chris Brown assault trial delayed again

  • Justin Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial