Race car driver Amber Balcaen is recovering at home after a serious crash over the weekend sent her car flying into the air and rolling during a race in Missouri.
The driver from Winnipeg says she has a severe concussion, a collapsed lung, some small burns and a sore body after the crash.
“I don’t actually remember the flip or the wreck itself, all I know was that it was the main event. There were 22 cars on the track and one of the leaders of the pack spun out and all the cars were still going full speed but they were trying to miss the person that spun out. I was told that a car got into me and I flew up over him,” she said.
“As you can see I got quite a bit of air and distance. I think I flipped around six times or so then landed in a fence. The tow truck came and had to lift me off the fence. Apparently, I got out, I walked out on my own two feet. I don’t remember that.”
Balcaen said one of the things she does remember is being raced to the hospital in the ambulance.
“I was knocked unconscious and they would wake me up then I would fall back asleep again. That happened five or six times. When I was in the ambulance on the stretcher I passed out again,” she said.
“I remember being in the ambulance on the stretcher and I couldn’t feel my left leg or left arm. At that point I thought part of my body was paralyzed because I couldn’t move it or feel it. That was the first time I have ever been extremely scared. My fiancé and I are supposed to get married in January in Winnipeg and the first thing that came across my mind was I wasn’t going to be able to walk down the aisle.”
Balcaen has since regained feeling in her body and is thankful she is just coping with soreness.
“It is really amazing that I’m not more injured but that goes to show how good the equipment is,” she said.
Dennis Shrout, the owner of Valley Speedway where the crash happened, says he watched the wreck unfold and says crashes are common in the sport.
“She’s one of the fastest drivers, she’s really good in that class. The competition was nationals. When you’ve got the speed and something goes bad that’s what happens. It’s unfortunate for everyone.”
The racing season was stalled this year because of the pandemic and a number of Balcaen’s events had to be cancelled.
“The season typically ends in October so depending on how I feel I possibly could race this year, but like I said, right now I just have to focus on getting better … once I’m better were will think about racing again.”
The outpouring of support for the athlete online included Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.
“From all your friends back home in Winnipeg, get well!” he wrote on Twitter.
Balcaen says the positive messages have lifted her spirits.
“I just want to thank everyone a lot for the prayers and wishes and the positive vibes and all the messages. I really appreciate it a lot and it helps me heal so thanks to everyone who reached out,” she said.