The University of Alabama at Birmingham

04/20/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/20/2024 16:12

Not all heroes wear capes: Race car driver honored UAB care team during race weekend

Blaine with some of his care team from the April 22, 2023 accident. On April 22, 2023, Blaine Perkins was excited to be in Alabama for another 300-mile race at the Talladega Superspeedway. Once on the track, the green flag waved signifying the start of the race he would never forget.

Some 48 laps in and Perkins was feeling great; but going into turn two on lap 49, another car clipped the back of the yellow No. 02 car, and Perkins suddenly found himself living his worst nightmare.

"The multi-car accident resulted in my flipping down the backstretch while going approximately 190 miles per hour," Perkins said. "It all happened very quickly. I saw the flash of a car in my rear-view mirror and was quickly turned sideways."

He was hit on the passenger side of his car, causing it to go airborne and flip seven times before skidding to a halt. Perkins says the last thing he remembers before temporarily losing consciousness was his seatbelts pulling him tightly and grabbing the wheel hard as he went upside down the first time.

"The next thing I knew, the car was on the ground and the safety crew came to my car window, where they helped me get out of the car," he said. "I remember waving to the crowd to let them know I was OK, but I was still trying to get my bearings."

Perkins was taken by ambulance to the infield care center that is staffed by UAB Medicine doctors and nurses for evaluation.

"Once I got to the infield care center, I was immediately surrounded by the medical staff going over all of my symptoms, and I remember being very calm because I had a great group of doctors taking care of me."

Photography: Blaine PerkinsOut of precaution, Perkins was transferred to the Emergency Department at UAB Hospital for additional scans and tests. He was kept for overnight observation before being released the next day with minimal injuries. He sat out the following weekend for recovery but was soon back on the track to complete the 2023 racing season, finishing with a ranking in the top 30.

Honoring his heroes

This weekend, Perkins returns to Talladega Superspeedway with an additional decal spotted on the yellow No. 29 car. The UAB Medicine logo with the phrase "not all heroes wear capes" has been added to the back of Perkins' vehicle in honor of his UAB care teams at the infield care center and at UAB Hospital.

"I just wanted to share my appreciation to all the people who were involved in making sure I was OK; they were all so thoughtful," he said. "It was my first time in a trauma center, and it gave me a new appreciation - they truly are heroes!"