On June 9, 2001, it was just another IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway for me. But unfortunately, it was the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the drivers blew an engine and I happened to be on the outside wall when it happened. I went airborne right over the wall, through the fencing and sheared the front of my race car off which left my legs exposed. I was going 220 mph when the impact happened and it took a long time for the car to slow down. Meanwhile, my legs and feet were exposed to the elements with the asphalt, debris and walls.
I was airlifted to the hospital and my legs were so horrifically damaged they said they would have to be amputated. They got me to the doctors in Indianapolis and it was there where they started the first of 21 surgeries over the next two years. The doctors started putting my legs back together and 21 surgeries later, here we are today.
Incidentally, the day of my accident was the day that my wife Tracey and I had decided to get divorced. There were so many rough times after the accident, but I think the toughest was going through the uncertainty of whether I would lose my legs and my family at the same time. It was the most difficult time in my life. I think that those two things together were the hardest because I could never get them off my mind. But I now know if I did not have that accident and if I hadn’t gone through those tough times, my family and I wouldn’t be together today.
I’m a follower of Christ and I committed my life to Jesus when I was 20 years old. But as a race car driver, when we’re racing 70-80 times a year all over the country and especially on weekends, it’s hard to participate in any one church or get a good solid grasp of the Christ-honoring lifestyle. But Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” After the accident, I relied on Him more than ever. I asked so many questions after my accident, “God, why me? Why this? What did I do?” And a lot of answers didn’t come until later on.
Now as I look back, I can say today He answered all of them: I got my family back, I can walk with my legs and feet, and most importantly I have the opportunity to help people who are going through difficult times.
— Davey Hamilton, USA race car driver