Supercars star James Courtney has gone under the surgeon’s knife as he faces a lifelong battle with the injuries suffered in last year’s freak pitlane accident.
Courtney had nerve endings in his chest and back burnt by a surgeon on the Gold Coast on Tuesday to numb crippling pain which had dogged him throughout this year’s championship.
The 2010 Supercars champion suffered five broken ribs, a punctured lung and a damaged sternum last August when debris struck him in the chest after being blown loose by the wash of a Navy helicopter at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Tuesday’s operation is the same one Courtney underwent in the aftermath of the accident and appears to be one he’ll have to endure throughout his life to manage his pain.
“They burn the nerve and that kills it so you don’t feel the pain,” Courtney told AAP.
“It makes the area numb until it (the nerve) grows back.”
The Holden Racing Team star, one of 10 race winners in a wide open 2016 championship, says pain has become a part of his day-to-day life since the accident.
With the longer drives of this year’s endurance events at Sandown and Bathurst fast approaching, the decision was taken to undergo the procedure and give him some comfort.
“It hasn’t been ultra-pleasant,” he said.
“It’s just something I’ve got to deal with now … they did it before Gold Coast last year and they were hoping that it would be fine but just the severity of it and the way it’s all happened, it’s probably going to be like this forever.”
Courtney, who is still believed to be seeking compensation over last year’s accident, says he is set to be fit for the next stop of the Supercars calendar in late August at Sydney Motorsport Park.
He says he has no concerns about returning to the track where he suffered his injuries.
“I’m not going there freaking out or anything,” he said.
“It’s just a constant reminder of the pain-in-ass period it has been.”