Mar 15, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Yamaha's Aaron Gobert continues to make steady improvement at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gobert was upgraded from "serious but stable" to "fair" condition by the hospital and moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular room on Tuesday, March 12. <BR><BR>"He's a million times better," said Gobert's girlfriend Melanie Riley, reached via Aaron Gobert's cell phone on Friday, March 15.<BR><BR>After falling on the banking at the exit of the chicane at Daytona International Speedway during the AMA Supersport race held March 8, Gobert was transported directly to Halifax with serious injuries. At the hospital, the middle Gobert brother had a metal rod surgically inserted into his shattered right tibia early Saturday, March 9, and his fractured right fibula was also set at that time. On Sunday, March 10, Gobert received two surgical screws to the "inside portion" of his fractured left ankle; the fractured "outside portion" was set to heal naturally.<BR><BR>According to Riley, doctors have said that Gobert's leg fractures will prevent him from putting any weight on his legs for four to six weeks.<BR><BR>The next area of Gobert's injured body drawing doctors' attention is his right shoulder. Riley said that doctors have told her that Gobert's injury is "as if he hit something with, or something hit him, on top of the shoulder, crushing it inward." The impact broke Gobert's right clavicle and scapula, otherwise known as the collarbone and shoulder blade.<BR><BR>"They're (doctors) hoping that it might be able to heal on its own," said Riley. "But it might need to be re-constructed." <BR><BR>Although his leathers did not fail, Gobert suffered "friction burns" on his right shoulder and arm down to his elbow. In one particular spot, said Riley, Gobert was burned through every layer of skin. "Monday, they're going to put him under and take the dead skin off to see if he needs a skin graft," added Riley.<BR><BR>Gobert, 22, was originally diagnosed as having two fractured vertebrae, C5 and C6, but, after further examinations by physicians, that diagnosis turned out to be false. <BR><BR>Although doctors never said how many, Riley said that Gobert had "multiple" rib fractures. The broken ribs punctured and collapsed both lungs, but the young Aussie was breathing on his own again on Saturday, March 9.<BR><BR>Gobert also received a concussion during the accident. Although he recognizes his family, knows where he is and is functioning normally, Gobert says he doesn't remember ever starting the race in which he crashed. Riley said that ever since he has been awake, Aaron Gobert has wanted to see the tape of his crash. "I'm at the hotel picking up the tape now," said Riley. "His mother and I are trying to make the arrangements to show it to him in his room tonight."<BR><BR>In addition to his mother, Sue Gobert, and girlfriend, Gobert is also being kept company by his brothers Anthony and Alex.<BR><BR>Aaron Gobert is expected to stay at Halifax until Saturday, March 23, when he will fly, via air ambulance, back to his home in Lake Elsinore, California, where he plans to recuperate. <BR><BR>Reached at his Van Nuys, California shop Friday, Graves Motorsports Yamaha team owner Chuck Graves said, "We don't have any plans to put anyone else on Aaron's bikes. At this point, the team is 100% behind Aaron and helping him through a hopefully speedy recovery. We'll just have to wait and see."<BR>