There are certain dates that IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe remembers, like his birthday, the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and the like.
But there’s one date he’ll both never forget and also one he wishes he could: May 18, 2015.
Hinchcliffe was involved in the most serious crash of his career that date. Had it not been for the extremely fast response of IndyCar’s Holmatro Safety Team, it also could have been the date that may have potentially been placed upon Hinchcliffe’s tombstone.
Now, in complete detail and with a number of illustrations, Hinchcliffe’s full story is told at TraumaPitCrew.org.
Hinchcliffe was practicing for the following week’s Indianapolis 500 when his car suffered mechanical failure heading into Turn 3 and he plowed head-on into the wall.
The crumpled car and driver bounced off and the car burst into flames that began to lick at Hinchcliffe’s mangled torso. He couldn’t get out of the wreckage and could feel himself starting to pass out, all the while as the flames got closer.
Fortunately, the spectacular Holmatro team – which is on-site at every IndyCar event, practice and qualifying session – responded in full force.
While several team members worked to extinguish the flames, others used the Jaws of Life to extract the critically injured Mayor of Hinchtown.
When Hinchcliffe hit the wall, he was doing about 200 mph. Upon impact, a suspension rod broke and nearly severed a major artery.
He faced several weeks of recovery and rehab and today, that wreck is a distant memory – except it’s also a memory that Hinchcliffe still can’t recall … and likely never will.
One of the biggest things you’ll likely take away from the description of Hinchcliffe’s crash is something that hit me like a ton of bricks when I first read it – and then had to re-read it several times just to make sure I got it right each time.
Typically, when astronauts blast off heading to the Space Shuttle, they endure about 3 Gs of gravitational pull.
50 Gs is considered fatal.
Hinchcliffe hit the wall at more than 2 ½ times that amount: 126 Gs.
And he survived to not only recover, but to tell his compelling story.
He’s also giving back by telling his story to raise funds to help those less fortunate and help in their own recoveries from devastating accidents.