Italian race car driver and Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has returned home after spending about 18 months in the hospital. He was hospitalized in "stable but serious condition" in June 2020 due to severe head injuries sustained in a handbike accident involving a truck.
"An important step was that Alex was able to leave the hospital a few weeks ago and is back at home with us now. We had to wait very long for this and are very happy that it was possible now, even if there are still temporary stays in special clinics planned for the future to carry out special rehabilitation measures on site," said his wife, Daniela Zanardi, in a recent interview. She added that he has made "a lot of progress."
Earlier in 2021, his wife said that the 55-year old could communicate but was not able to speak. She didn't specify if that's changed, but she noted that he has regained enough strength in his arms to spend most of his time in a wheelchair rather than in a bed. It's still too early to tell whether the racer — who competed in Formula One, among other series, and lost both of his legs in a crash — will make a full recovery.
"You still can't predict how his recovery will further develop. It is still a long and challenging way that Alex tackles with a lot of fighting spirit."
Zanardi received a tremendous amount of support from fans, friends, former rivals on the track, and the teams that he raced for during his long career. In 2020, Pope Francis even wrote the athlete a letter to thank him for "giving the strength to those who had lost it."