Editor’s Note: The March issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine will include a profile on the recovery of third-generation open-wheel racer Kevin Swindell from injuries suffered during last August’s Knoxville Nationals. Here are two excerpts from the March feature on Swindell and his family-driven support system.
Kevin Swindell has tackled rehabilitation with the same aggressiveness he raced with. In the six-plus months he has lived in Louisville — he spent four weeks residing in the rehabilitation center and has lived in a nearby apartment since — Swindell has gone from zero mobility to almost miracle status.
As of late January, Swindell had regained movement in both of his legs and was closing in on the ability to walk again.
“I went from nothing to now I’ve got movement back everywhere except being able to pivot my ankles and raise my toes,” Swindell said. “I just can’t control my ankles. I can move them back and forth and side to side. If I could get my ankle control back, I’d have control of everything again.”
While Swindell deserves credit for maintaining a positive attitude and putting in the long hours of hard work — three hours per day Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and four hours per day Tuesdays and Thursdays at the rehabilitation center, plus exercises at home each morning and night — his support system has been remarkable.
“All of that has been huge,” he said. “It’s been huge the amount people that have sent whether it be money or a card. There are people who almost every day send something. It’s pretty remarkable what people will do in a situation like this.”
Amy Swindell has continued to be by her son’s side. She lives in Louisville, Ky., where Kevin and his fiancée, Jordan Armstrong, reside near a premier rehabilitation center. Throughout the process she is amazed at the love and support shown by everyone ranging from relatives to strangers.
“I’ve been around and helped when other people have been hurt,” she said. “I remember stuff with Brad Doty. I remember Doug Wolfgang when he was burned. I was part of the benevolent fund for the World of Outlaws for a long time. I’ve never seen anything like this. And it’s continued. We get cards every day. We get stuff on the Internet every day. People are still praying for him and sending him encouragement. It seems like it’s everywhere. It bonded the racing community to help him. We are so grateful for everyone who has supported Kevin and our family during this difficult time.”