NORTH ANDOVER — Maggie Clark is back again on observe.
The 16-12 months-previous race vehicle driver’s season ended past year on Sept. 11 immediately after what Clark calls a “racing incident” at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire.
“Another competitor drove suitable by way of the infield up into my still left rear tire and spun me in front of the whole discipline,” Clark reported.
Her race auto was struck 4 or five times, such as her door, by vehicles that were touring involving 35 and 50 mph.
“I sat for a moment and was waiting for them to appear more than to my window to see if I was Okay, and my whole correct side, it felt like I obtained shot out of a cannon and landed proper on it,” claimed Clark, a scholar at North Andover Higher College. “It harm really lousy, and I variety of received a headache but I did not feel anything of it. I stayed at the races the rest of the night.”
But her moms and dads took her to the crisis space when they returned to North Andover. The X-rays had been inconclusive but suggested there may possibly have been a fracture in Clark’s advancement plate where the bone was nonetheless maturing in her shoulder. That turned out not to be the situation.
“We did September to January on bodily treatment for the shoulder and almost nothing was finding superior,” said Kim Timmons, her mom.
In point, Clark’s head aches ended up finding even worse. She couldn’t slumber a lot more than an hour a night time, acted grumpy at situations, and received so dizzy a person working day at university that she experienced to occur property.
Her primary treatment health practitioner proposed they see a pediatrician who specializes in orthopedics. The pediatrician instructed Clark in February that her indications have been indicators of a concussion.
“He was like, ‘You want to see any individual,”’ Timmons said. “I did not even know they did bodily treatment for concussions.”
But which is a single of various matters they do at Fyzical Dizziness & Drop Prevention Centre in North Andover, exactly where Clark started out doing the job with bodily therapists Kaela Helle and Sydney Sunnerberg shortly just after her analysis.
“I identified as on Wednesday and we had our initial assembly on a Friday, and it was form of eye-opening to check out her go by means of the first ingestion job interview,” Timmons reported.
Clark was led into a computerized dynamic posturography screening product, which is like stepping inside of a video clip game. Although presenting people with challenges that evaluate their harmony, it also functions as a variety of therapy.
“You get in this machine and they connect you to it and the floor will shift,” Clark said. “You have to do various road blocks.”
In a person problem, she needed to keep away from some gargoyles although defending herself with a pair of crossed swords. The floor operates like mouse pads on a personal computer, with Clark making an attempt to command the motion with her feet, though her response is evaluated by the device.
At the very same time, text that name a color and are written in different colours are flashed in entrance of her eyes as aspect of a thing named a Modified Stroop Check.
“We’ll talk to them to possibly convey to us what coloration it is created in, or what it states, and then we’ll level her precision on it,” Helle stated.
She claimed pondering about the text though performing physical duties is hard for folks who have experienced concussions.
“Once she gets to the point in which she can tolerate one thing a very little bit much more visually, and have that cognitive piece in it, it is genuinely key for the restoration,” Helle explained.
Clark went to Fyzical twice a week for about a month, then the moment a 7 days for a different few of months, in advance of she was cleared to race all over again in April.
Alongside with her sessions in the CDP machine, Clark expended time on a treadmill the place she performed increasingly tricky jobs whilst walking, such as focusing on an X though moving her head back again and forth to the defeat of a metronome.
Clark also had classes on a suspended platform referred to as a shuttle, the place the ground moves from side to side and also again and forth like a seesaw although she attempts to maintain her stability.
Although Clark’s first check at Fyzical reveals that she misplaced her equilibrium 4 instances and was at hazard of falling, these challenges have been fixed by the time she “graduated” from treatment method in April, Helle stated.
“By the time she was done, she was entirely normal,” Helle said.
Clark entered her first race when she was 13, properly ahead of she even experienced a learner’s permit. She figured out racing from her father, who utilized to contend at Star Speedway, and also from her uncle, who nonetheless races there in massive block super modifieds.
She reported she often to tries to run her ideal lap, but requires a single lap at a time.
“If you’re trying much too hard, that’s when you almost mess up, and that is when you get slower,” Clark explained.
She competes in a course identified as “Pure Stock” in which every person drives Honda Preludes that are at least 10 decades outdated. Except for security capabilities, these types of as a roll cage and driver’s seat, they are particularly like the styles on the street.
Although some of the drivers she competes in opposition to are significantly older than Clark, some are even youthful.
“As very long as the mother and father signal off and give authorization, they can race,” Timmons said.
Clark’s very first full season of racing at Star was in 2020, when she ran 20 to 25 races. But 2021 was “a really tough year” in which she only concluded a single race, and not just for the reason that of her accident.
“We experienced mechanical challenges, motor troubles,” she explained. “We caught on fireplace. We bought into the wall, so they experienced to redo the front end of my car. We had been chasing electrical problems all calendar year, and then we eventually got the automobile likely and we bought in a racing incident.”
Clark’s mother stated the fireplace, which was ignited by the exhaust following oil leaked from a frayed line, was the most nerve-wracking instant in that challenging time.
“You could see, when she bought out, she experienced parts of her floor melted to her sneakers,” Timmons stated.
When asked why she loves racing, Clark stated the pace, but also the problem of mastering her fears.
“I get in, and I’ll be terrified and I’m like, I simply cannot be,” Clark stated. “If I’m scared, I’m not going to do effectively. I feel like I can be a stronger particular person in the shop” where her family members performs on autos. “I’m a more powerful man or woman if I’m in the shop and driving race vehicles.”
She started out racing yet again nearly straight away immediately after receiving clearance from Fyzical, whilst Clark admits her fears are intensive after the encounters of last year.
“It’s incredibly nerve-wracking to get in now,” Clark stated. “There’s this factor identified as ‘staging,’ and that is the place we wait for the race in the autos and we’re all buckled in. You have got the helmets on, the shields down. I’ll get practically ill to my abdomen sitting down in there. So then I just notify myself that if this vehicle wasn’t safe, my household wouldn’t enable me race it.”
Clark thinks about all of the protection gear she is sporting, and the protections crafted into her auto, until eventually she is reassured.
“If I get damage, I get hurt undertaking what I like,” Clark explained. “I really enjoy it.”