Oswaldo Negri Jr. – Grand-am Rolex sports car racing series race car driver.
Since I was nine years old, my life has revolved around the racetrack. I knew I was in love with race car driving from the moment I was old enough to get behind the wheel. I didn’t think it was possible to love anything more until I met my beautiful wife Claudia, and we had our two lovely daughters. Our family settled down in Aventura, and I was truly living my dream both personally and professionally.
After coming off of my most successful season as a professional race car driver, the unthinkable happened. I broke my fibula above my right ankle while mountain biking. I saw my racing career fading away in my rearview mirror.
I’ve seen what an injury can do to a person’s career. So when the bone in my leg snapped, I immediately knew I was in trouble. My right ankle needs to be in good working condition to accelerate and brake the car. I began to worry about how long I would be out for, and if I would ever be able to come back. Racing is my way of life, my livelihood and the only way I know how to make a living.
The first orthopaedic physician I saw told me I had to wait and see how my ankle healed and then move towards treatment. I sought a second opinion, but I wasn’t satisfied with either treatment plan. I felt farther than ever from the driver’s seat.
Because of the injury, I found myself feeling very frustrated, and it was affecting every area of my life. A close friend of mine noticed how devastated I was and suggested I see one more doctor – Dr. Jonathan Hersch, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at West Boca Medical Center. I took the recommendation and made an appointment with Dr. Hersch. From the minute he entered the exam room, it was like a light came on, and he told me the plan to diagnose, treat, perform surgery and rehabilitate my broken bone. Dr. Hersch and everybody in his office offered tremendous support, and it was the first time since before I broke my ankle that I had confidence I would return to racing.
During my surgery at West Boca Medical Center, Dr. Hersch actually had to re-break my fibula bone. The staff at the hospital was tremendous in helping me reestablish my range of motion after the surgery. On my first visit back to Dr. Hersch, he already had me on a rehabilitation and physical therapy plan, and we talked about me racing again. I was making excellent progress, and I knew I would be able to get back in a car, which was such a huge relief.
You may not believe what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true. Four months after my surgery, I won first place in my age class at a triathlon in Key Biscayne. Four car races after the surgery, I made it to the finish line with a Top-5 finish. I was able to get my full race schedule back. I want to thank both Dr. Hersch and West Boca Medical Center for getting me back to the starting line – both on foot and behind the wheel.