To no one’s surprise, there was word of a “homecoming” yesterday for former Formula One racing driver Alex Zanardi. After recovering from an accident at the 1994 Nürburgring race that almost took his life, Zanardi returned to his birthplace in upstate New York, to fulfill a promise he made to himself upon getting out of hospital.
The recovery of Alex Zanardi turned into the kind of inspirational story that you kind of expect from a motor sports driver. But he was a fair guy too and emerged stronger from the physical and mental trauma of the accident than anyone else could have imagined.
His story was told most memorably at a ceremony hosted by Laurence Olivier in 2005, and the Oscar-winning British film Howards End was based on it.
Zanardi is now recovering at a New York neuro-rehabilitation center after spending the last few weeks in a semi-conscious state and unable to walk on his own. He was transferred yesterday to the Strong Memorial Hospital’s Gabriel Rabinovitz Center for Neurological Rehabilitation.
He will have to remain in New York for several months before he can be fitted with a helmet, something that will guarantee he gets the very best treatment for his injuries. But it looks as though things will get back to normal very soon. The goal is that he can get back to riding his bike in the park with his young daughter.