Gidley Fully Recovered From Serious Injuries, Cleared To Race Again

Memo Gidley - Racing again at the Daytona International Speedway in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Memo Gidley – Racing again at the Daytona International Speedway in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Three years ago this weekend, racer Memo Gidley was seriously injured during the Rolex 24 at Daytona when his fast-moving Daytona Prototype plowed into a nearly stopped Ferrari. Gidley had to be cut from his demolished car and when taken to a nearby hospital, he was diagnosed with a broken back along with leg and arm injuries.

Since then, Gidley has been going through successions of medical procedures and non-stop rehabilitation action. Recently, doctors gave him a clean bill of health and cleared him to race again.

This weekend, Gidley returned to the Daytona International Speedway for the first time since the accident. His mission here is twofold – to renew acquaintances and to express his thanks to the hospital team of doctors and nurses that administered to him after the accident.

During a press conference at DIS, Gidley, 46, described his accident as “outrageous,” and although he doesn’t remember it, he has viewed replays often. “It has been two years of hell and things have gotten significantly better in the last year. It has been a long process,” he said. The Mexican-American native thanked everyone that helped him during the long ordeal and Jim France, in particular. “What he did for me after the accident and in the hospital for me, my wife and my mother, it was fantastic,” he added.

While he has never met the doctors at the Halifax Medical Center, he plans to visit with them in a day or so.

“The accident was one thing and the recovery was another thing, a very knarly experience. Broken bones are one thing but dealing with the pain puts you into a mood that you are not accustomed to,” he commented, profusely thanking his wife and mother for putting up with him.

He indicated his recovery took an additional year due to a spinal infusion that took 12 months to mend. And then doctors have cleared him to go do whatever he wants. While awaiting his international racing license, he has been involved with karting, both as a driver, coach and team owner.

“I am excited about closing this (rehab) chapter of my life right now,” he said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I have no concerns about getting back in a race car. In a race car, you are in control and I am excited about getting back out there.”

Should Gidley never race competitively, he feels his investment has been worth it. “My goal from the beginning has been to get back in a race car but my overall goal was to get stronger. If you are back stronger, it opens up opportunities for you whatever it is,” he commented.

“Racing is what I have been doing for a long time and I love the environment and the people, so my ultimate goal is to get back in a race car,” Gidley said in closing. Once finished, the media gave him a round of applause.

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