Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cristiano da Matta Injured During Collision With Deer - August 3, 2006

August 3, 2006
Cristiano da Matta, driver of the RuSPORT team, was involved in a collision with a deer during Champ Car open testing at Road America.
The deer ran in front of his car as he was heading towards turn 6. Da Matta hit the deer with his right front tire, the deer then flew back and hit da Matta in the cockpit. He was unconscious when the safety crew extricated him from the car and was airlifted via Flight for Life to Theda Clark Medical Center south of Appleton, where he underwent surgery to remove a subdural hematoma.

On August 20, da Matta was transferred out of intensive care. On August 30, da Matta was confirmed to have made steady progress, conversing in English and Portuguese, and walking short distances. On 21 September 2006, da Matta was allowed to leave the hospital after having recovered better than expected.

When the Champ Car World Series returned to race in the Grand Prix of Road America on September 24, da Matta gave the traditional command - "start your engines". Throughout the next couple of years, he engaged in a training and therapy regime while deciding his racing future.

On March 20, 2008 da Matta climbed back into a race car for the first time since his accident, completing a two-day test in a Riley Daytona Prototype prepared by reigning Rolex Sports Car Series champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. He found speed right away, and team owner Bob Stallings said "the comeback has begun."
(Photo credit: Paull Young via photopin cc)

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