Apr 9, 2002
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<BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>AMA 250cc Grand Prix racer Greg Esser, 42, says that doctors have told him he may never race again, due to the damage he suffered to his left ankle in a crash during practice on Friday, April 5 at California Speedway.<BR><BR>Esser lowsided his Honda RS250 entering turn nine and crashed into a man-made wall of haybales and plastic traffic barriers that was erected to prevent crossovers between turns nine and four. Esser says that the last thing he remembers is seeing his lap timer, and the next thing he remembers is seeing the rotor blades of the helicopter that evacuated him to Loma Linda University Medical Center. <BR><BR>In addition to a concussion and a dislocated right shoulder, Esser badly broke his left ankle. "The doctor, an ankle specialist, said it was a ‘terrible, terrible ankle injury'," said Esser in a telephone call to Roadracingworld.com on Monday, April 8. <BR><BR>Esser said that he had surgery to plate and screw the ankle together Friday night at Loma Linda. According to Esser, the doctor said that he had removed "a bunch" of cartilage and bone that was damaged too badly to repair. The doctor went on to tell Esser that the result would be a loss of movement and a possible need to fuse the ankle into position in the future. Esser will be forced to use a wheelchair for at least ten days until his separated shoulder heals enough to use crutches. The 20-year racing veteran said he will be on crutches for the next three months.<BR><BR>Before flying home to Pompano Beach, Florida Monday evening, Esser said that he planned to see his family doctor, who just happens to be a wrist and ankle specialist, on Tuesday, April 9 for further evaluation.<BR><BR>"I'm not 16," said Esser, the owner of Fab Weld, a small welding and machine shop. "I'm going to do what the doctor says. If I have enough movement to race, I'm going to race. If not, if I'm done, then I'm OK with that. I'll still be at the track. I'll be hanging out at Road Atlanta for sure."<BR><BR><BR>