Ethan Rees was lucky to survive a major crash during qualifying for the New Zealand Stockcar championships at Arena Manawatu on Saturday night.
Rees had moved into third place of Group 4 when there was a huge crash in front of him at the Pascal St end of the Arena Manawatu track.
Fellow Palmerston North driver Jamie Southee's front bumper went through the open window of Rees' car breaking Rees' shoulder and eye socket after his helmet was also smashed by the bumper. He also suffered three broken ribs.
Rees is in Ward 28 at Palmerston North Hospital and hopes to be discharged later this week. It's expected to be two months before he is fully recovered.
Once Rees arrived at hospital it was also realised he was struggling to breathe and immediately had an operation to insert a valve to release air in a cavity after puncturing a lung.
Rees' father, Peter, said he was initially surprised Ethan had suffered serious injuries.
"I was getting my own car ready and didn't realise anything was wrong until I heard on the radio announcement that Ethan had been knocked out," Peter Rees said.
"I went out the back shed and saw him doubled over in the car with his seat breaking.
"They said they were going to take the top off the car and he jumped out straight away."
Peter Rees said that Ethan had no intention of going to hospital until after racing but was clearly in pain and paramedics left him with no option when it was clear he had serious injuries.
"He's a very lucky boy," Rees said of his 16 year-old son.
"These cars weigh 1500kg and when two cars are heading towards each other something has to give.
"It was a shock but he said he was all right," he said.
"It affected his brother [Asher] for a while though."
Rees said that his son was able to come away from such a horrific crash is testament to the strength of stockcars and the measures in place to make them as safe as possible to protect the drivers.
- Manawatu Standard
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