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

NORTH ANDOVER — Maggie Clark is back on monitor.

The 16-year-aged race auto driver’s season finished last year on Sept. 11 just after what Clark phone calls a “racing incident” at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire.

“Another competitor drove suitable as a result of the infield up into my remaining rear tire and spun me in entrance of the full subject,” Clark explained.

Her race auto was struck 4 or 5 situations, which includes her door, by vehicles that have been touring in between 35 and 50 mph.

“I sat for a minute and was waiting for them to appear over to my window to see if I was Alright, and my entire appropriate facet, it felt like I got shot out of a cannon and landed appropriate on it,” claimed Clark, a college student at North Andover Large Faculty. “It harm really terrible, and I sort of bought a headache but I did not assume nearly anything of it. I stayed at the races the relaxation of the night.”

But her dad and mom took her to the crisis place when they returned to North Andover. The X-rays were inconclusive but suggested there may well have been a fracture in Clark’s growth plate the place the bone was still maturing in her shoulder. That turned out not to be the scenario.

“We did September to January on physical therapy for the shoulder and practically nothing was having greater,” reported Kim Timmons, her mom.

In truth, Clark’s problems have been finding even worse. She couldn’t rest more than an hour a night, acted grumpy at situations, and received so dizzy one particular day at school that she had to arrive household.

Her primary care health care provider instructed they see a pediatrician who specializes in orthopedics. The pediatrician advised Clark in February that her signs ended up indicators of a concussion.

“He was like, ‘You require to see somebody,”’ Timmons mentioned. “I did not even know they did physical therapy for concussions.”

But that is a single of many issues they do at Fyzical Dizziness & Tumble Avoidance Center in North Andover, exactly where Clark begun functioning with actual physical therapists Kaela Helle and Sydney Sunnerberg soon right after her diagnosis.

“I known as on Wednesday and we had our to start with assembly on a Friday, and it was form of eye-opening to watch her go via the original intake interview,” Timmons stated.

Clark was led into a computerized dynamic posturography testing product, which is like stepping within a online video sport. Though presenting sufferers with challenges that measure their harmony, it also acts as a form of remedy.

“You get in this equipment and they connect you to it and the floor will move,” Clark explained. “You have to do diverse obstructions.”

In 1 obstacle, she needed to prevent some gargoyles even though defending herself with a pair of crossed swords. The floor will work like mouse pads on a computer, with Clark attempting to control the action with her feet, whilst her response is evaluated by the equipment.

At the exact time, terms that identify a shade and are published in diverse shades are flashed in front of her eyes as element of a little something called a Modified Stroop Check.

“We’ll talk to them to both explain to us what coloration it’s penned in, or what it says, and then we’ll amount her accuracy on it,” Helle said.

She reported pondering about the phrases while doing bodily jobs is difficult for men and women who have had concussions.

“Once she will get to the position in which she can tolerate one thing a very little bit a lot more visually, and have that cognitive piece in it, it’s actually essential for the restoration,” Helle mentioned.

Clark went to Fyzical twice a 7 days for about a month, then once a week for yet another pair of months, just before she was cleared to race once again in April.

Together with her classes in the CDP equipment, Clark put in time on a treadmill exactly where she performed ever more hard responsibilities though walking, this kind of as concentrating on an X while going her head again and forth to the conquer of a metronome.

Clark also experienced sessions on a suspended system named a shuttle, exactly where the floor moves from side to aspect and also back and forth like a seesaw while she attempts to maintain her equilibrium.

Although Clark’s original test at Fyzical reveals that she misplaced her balance four times and was at hazard of slipping, these troubles have been settled by the time she “graduated” from remedy in April, Helle reported.

“By the time she was done, she was completely regular,” Helle mentioned.

Clark entered her initial race when she was 13, effectively before she even had a learner’s allow. She figured out racing from her father, who utilized to contend at Star Speedway, and also from her uncle, who however races there in major block super modifieds.

She claimed she always to attempts to operate her most effective lap, but usually takes 1 lap at a time.

“If you are striving also hard, that’s when you almost mess up, and that is when you get slower,” Clark explained.

She competes in a class called “Pure Stock” in which everyone drives Honda Preludes that are at the very least 10 several years aged. Besides for security characteristics, this sort of as a roll cage and driver’s seat, they are just like the products on the highway.

Even though some of the motorists she competes against are substantially older than Clark, some are even young.

“As long as the parents sign off and give permission, they can race,” Timmons claimed.

Clark’s to start with complete period of racing at Star was in 2020, when she ran 20 to 25 races. But 2021 was “a incredibly difficult year” in which she only completed 1 race, and not just due to the fact of her incident.

“We experienced mechanical problems, motor troubles,” she reported. “We caught on fire. We got into the wall, so they had to redo the entrance stop of my automobile. We had been chasing electrical complications all 12 months, and then we lastly acquired the auto heading and we obtained in a racing incident.”

Clark’s mom mentioned the fire, which was ignited by the exhaust following oil leaked from a frayed line, was the most nerve-wracking minute in that tough period.

“You could see, when she acquired out, she had pieces of her ground melted to her footwear,” Timmons said.

When requested why she loves racing, Clark mentioned the velocity, but also the challenge of mastering her fears.

“I get in, and I’ll be scared and I’m like, I can not be,” Clark said. “If I’m terrified, I’m not going to do perfectly. I truly feel like I can be a stronger particular person in the shop” the place her relatives functions on cars and trucks. “I’m a much better individual if I’m in the shop and driving race cars.”

She started racing again pretty much straight away immediately after acquiring clearance from Fyzical, despite the fact that Clark admits her fears are rigorous immediately after the encounters of last season.

“It’s really nerve-wracking to get in now,” Clark claimed. “There’s this thing termed ‘staging,’ and that is in which we hold out for the race in the vehicles and we’re all buckled in. You have received the helmets on, the shields down. I’ll get almost sick to my stomach sitting down in there. So then I just tell myself that if this auto was not safe, my loved ones wouldn’t permit me race it.”

Clark thinks about all of the safety devices she is donning, and the protections constructed into her auto, until finally she is reassured.

“If I get harm, I get damage accomplishing what I like,” Clark reported. “I actually take pleasure in it.”