Oswaldo's Ortho Story

Jun 6, 2019

Broken leg nearly ends racing career

Oswaldo Negri Jr, orthopedic patient, West Boca Medical Center

Our-Stories-NegriRace car driver Oswaldo Negri Jr. was living his dream life in Aventura, Florida with his wife, Claudia, and their two daughters. He had just finished his most successful season ever and was enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, mountain biking, when the unthinkable happened: he broke his leg just above his right ankle.

"I saw my racing career fading away in my rearview mirror,” says Oswaldo, who has won championships in both his native country, Brazil, and in the U.S. "I've seen what an injury can do to a person’s career. So when the bone in my leg snapped, I immediately knew I was in trouble. My right ankle needs to be in good working condition to accelerate and brake the car."

Racing was the only life he’d known for 40 years. He couldn't imagine making a living any other way. But as he started his journey toward healing, he couldn't help but worry. One orthopedist advised him to simply wait and see how the ankle healed. A second opinion didn't seem to offer anything better. He felt like he was getting farther and farther away from his livelihood.

A friend who noticed Oswaldo's increasing frustration recommended he try just one more doctor— Dr. Jonathan Hersch, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at West Boca Medical Center. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he made an appointment.

"From the minute he entered the exam room, it was like a light came on, and he told me the plan to diagnose, treat, perform surgery and rehabilitate my broken bone," Oswaldo says. "Dr. Hersch and everybody in his office offered tremendous support, and it was the first time that I had confidence I would return to racing."

He still had a long recovery ahead of him. Dr. Hersch had to perform surgery and re-break Oswaldo's fibula, and there would be rehab and physical therapy afterward to regain mobility and range of motion. As a born racer, he made fast progress.

"You may not believe what I’m about to tell you, but it's true: four months after my surgery, I won first place in my age class at a triathlon in Key Biscayne," he says. "Four car races after the surgery, I made it to the finish line with a top-5 finish. I was able to get my full race schedule back. I want to thank both Dr. Hersch and West Boca Medical Center for getting me back to the starting line – both on foot and behind the wheel."