It has been just over a year since Alessandro Zanardi, the legendary race driver, Paralympic champion, and BMW brand ambassador was critically injured in a hand bike accident in Italy. On July 1, BMW released an interview with his wife Daniela Zanardi providing an update on her husband’s recovery process.
The text of the interview follows.—Brian Morgan
Daniela, how is Alex these days?
Daniela Zanardi: “One year after the accident, Alex’s condition is essentially stable. He is currently in a special clinic, where he is undergoing a rehabilitation program. This includes multimodal and pharmacological stimulations under the guidance of doctors, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists and speech therapists to try to facilitate his recovery.”
A long time has passed since the last update on Alex’s health. Is there a specific reason for this release?
Zanardi: “We have received so many best wishes for his recovery, and I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you, on behalf of Alex, for every single message. Following consultations with the doctors, now appears to be an appropriate time to offer this small insight into Alex’s recovery process with this interview. I would like to tell all those people who are thinking of and praying for Alex that he is fighting—as he always has done. The affection we have received from friends, fans, acquaintances, athletes, and those involved in motorsport over the past year has been nothing short of touching and overwhelming and has been of enormous support for us in dealing with all this. However, a very special thank you goes to the medical personnel.”
How can you describe Alex’s development since the accident?
Zanardi: “It has been a very complex process that has required more neurosurgery and been characterized by a number of setbacks. Alex is in a stable condition, which means he is able to undergo training programs for both his brain and his body. He can communicate with us, but he is still unable to speak. After a long time in a coma, the vocal cords must regain their elasticity. This is only possible through practice and therapy. He still has a lot of strength in his arms and hands, and is training intensively on the equipment.”
What are your expectations for the future?
Zanardi: “It is certainly another huge challenge. It is a very long journey and at the moment no predictions are made on when he will be able to return home. We put all our energy in Alex’s recovery. Therefore we decided to use this interview as a unique opportunity to inform the public on his recovery status and answer some frequently asked questions. We appreciate everyone’s
understanding that we will leave it at that for the moment.”
[Photo courtesy BMW AG.]