June 6, 2023


Automotive and technology

North Andover race car driver, 16, on road to recovery | News


NORTH ANDOVER — Maggie Clark is again on keep track of.

The 16-yr-previous race car driver’s year finished past calendar year on Sept. 11 soon after what Clark phone calls a “racing incident” at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire.

“Another competitor drove correct by the infield up into my left rear tire and spun me in front of the whole industry,” Clark claimed.

Her race car was struck 4 or 5 moments, together with her doorway, by autos that have been traveling amongst 35 and 50 mph.

“I sat for a minute and was waiting for them to come above to my window to see if I was Alright, and my entire right side, it felt like I acquired shot out of a cannon and landed suitable on it,” claimed Clark, a pupil at North Andover Substantial College. “It damage definitely undesirable, and I kind of obtained a headache but I didn’t imagine everything of it. I stayed at the races the relaxation of the evening.”

But her moms and dads took her to the emergency home when they returned to North Andover. The X-rays ended up inconclusive but instructed there could have been a fracture in Clark’s development plate the place the bone was nonetheless maturing in her shoulder. That turned out not to be the situation.

“We did September to January on actual physical treatment for the shoulder and absolutely nothing was obtaining much better,” claimed Kim Timmons, her mother.

In actuality, Clark’s head aches were being obtaining even worse. She could not snooze far more than an hour a night, acted grumpy at moments, and bought so dizzy one day at faculty that she experienced to occur home.

Her key treatment doctor suggested they see a pediatrician who specializes in orthopedics. The pediatrician told Clark in February that her signs or symptoms were being indicators of a concussion.

“He was like, ‘You need to have to see somebody,”’ Timmons reported. “I didn’t even know they did actual physical remedy for concussions.”

But that is one of numerous items they do at Fyzical Dizziness & Slide Avoidance Center in North Andover, the place Clark began doing work with actual physical therapists Kaela Helle and Sydney Sunnerberg shortly right after her diagnosis.

“I termed on Wednesday and we had our initially meeting on a Friday, and it was type of eye-opening to watch her go by way of the preliminary consumption job interview,” Timmons claimed.

Clark was led into a computerized dynamic posturography tests system, which is like stepping within a movie match. When presenting patients with challenges that evaluate their stability, it also functions as a type of therapy.

“You get in this equipment and they connect you to it and the ground will go,” Clark stated. “You have to do various obstructions.”

In a single challenge, she essential to prevent some gargoyles when defending herself with a pair of crossed swords. The ground performs like mouse pads on a personal computer, with Clark trying to control the motion with her toes, even though her response is evaluated by the equipment.

At the very same time, text that title a shade and are published in different shades are flashed in front of her eyes as element of some thing referred to as a Modified Stroop Take a look at.

“We’ll inquire them to possibly tell us what shade it’s published in, or what it suggests, and then we’ll level her accuracy on it,” Helle reported.

She said thinking about the words though accomplishing actual physical tasks is tough for men and women who have experienced concussions.

“Once she will get to the place exactly where she can tolerate a little something a small little bit extra visually, and have that cognitive piece in it, it’s seriously essential for the recovery,” Helle mentioned.

Clark went to Fyzical two times a 7 days for about a thirty day period, then when a 7 days for a different few of months, ahead of she was cleared to race once again in April.

Alongside with her sessions in the CDP device, Clark put in time on a treadmill wherever she carried out more and more complicated jobs whilst walking, this sort of as concentrating on an X though moving her head back again and forth to the defeat of a metronome.

Clark also experienced sessions on a suspended system identified as a shuttle, wherever the ground moves from aspect to facet and also again and forth like a seesaw although she tries to keep her equilibrium.

When Clark’s first take a look at at Fyzical exhibits that she lost her stability four times and was at danger of falling, these challenges were settled by the time she “graduated” from remedy in April, Helle reported.

“By the time she was completed, she was completely regular,” Helle reported.

Clark entered her initial race when she was 13, effectively ahead of she even experienced a learner’s permit. She realized racing from her father, who utilised to compete at Star Speedway, and also from her uncle, who however races there in major block tremendous modifieds.

She said she constantly to tries to operate her greatest lap, but usually takes one particular lap at a time.

“If you are making an attempt way too challenging, that’s when you just about mess up, and which is when you get slower,” Clark mentioned.

She competes in a class termed “Pure Stock” in which everyone drives Honda Preludes that are at minimum 10 decades old. Other than for security capabilities, these kinds of as a roll cage and driver’s seat, they are exactly like the styles on the road.

Even though some of the motorists she competes versus are substantially more mature than Clark, some are even young.

“As extended as the mom and dad signal off and give permission, they can race,” Timmons claimed.

Clark’s initially entire season of racing at Star was in 2020, when she ran 20 to 25 races. But 2021 was “a extremely tricky year” in which she only concluded a person race, and not just due to the fact of her incident.

“We experienced mechanical complications, motor complications,” she said. “We caught on fire. We received into the wall, so they experienced to redo the front finish of my auto. We have been chasing electrical issues all yr, and then we last but not least received the vehicle likely and we acquired in a racing incident.”

Clark’s mom reported the fireplace, which was ignited by the exhaust immediately after oil leaked from a frayed line, was the most nerve-wracking instant in that tough period.

“You could see, when she received out, she experienced items of her ground melted to her sneakers,” Timmons explained.

When asked why she loves racing, Clark pointed out the pace, but also the challenge of mastering her fears.

“I get in, and I’ll be worried and I’m like, I simply cannot be,” Clark said. “If I’m frightened, I’m not likely to do effectively. I sense like I can be a more powerful person in the shop” where her loved ones is effective on cars and trucks. “I’m a much better human being if I’m in the shop and driving race vehicles.”

She begun racing all over again pretty much right away just after acquiring clearance from Fyzical, though Clark admits her fears are powerful soon after the activities of very last period.

“It’s incredibly nerve-wracking to get in now,” Clark explained. “There’s this detail called ‘staging,’ and which is wherever we wait around for the race in the autos and we’re all buckled in. You have bought the helmets on, the shields down. I’ll get just about sick to my tummy sitting in there. So then I just notify myself that if this car or truck wasn’t secure, my loved ones would not enable me race it.”

Clark thinks about all of the basic safety machines she is donning, and the protections developed into her car or truck, right up until she is reassured.

“If I get harm, I get harm undertaking what I like,” Clark explained. “I truly love it.”


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