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Woody: Bayne’s Bite Could Have Been Serious

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 14 2011

The racing career of Trevor Bayne could have been over before it started. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Gregg Ellman)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Young driver Trevor Bayne was bitten by the racing bug when he was just a kid.

Last week he was bitten by some other type of insect and went through some scary moments. Bayne was admitted to a Charlotte hospital for treatment, later released, and at last word he is OK and scheduled to race at Talladega this weekend.

He’s lucky. When I first read the report that he had suffered a reaction to a bite by a spider or tick, I feared the worse.

I have a friend who last fall was bitten on her upper leg by a brown recluse spider and the ordeal was harrowing. She spent months undergoing medical procedures to halt the deterioration of tissue around the bitten area, then begin a long and painful rehabilitation.

A few years ago another acquaintance was bitten on the foot by one of the tiny spiders. She eventually lost her foot, and still the infection spread. She lost her leg just below the knee in a second amputation.

Spider bites cause more severe injuries every year in the U.S. than snake bites.

The same goes for tick bites. Most are harmless, resulting in nothing worse than an itchy bump, but a few of the ticks are infected with Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The disease can be extremely de-habilitating, requiring months of recovery, and in some cases it is fatal.

Thankfully the prognosis for Bayne is good. He seems to be on the mend. But the incident goes to show how fragile life can be, and also how ironic: young Bayne is scheduled to race stock cars at blazing speeds around NASCAR’s most daunting track, but before he can get there he’s sidelined by a tiny insect.

Danger is where you find it.

I’m reminded of the racers’ creed: if something bad is destined to befall you, it’ll get you whether you’re on the racetrack or mowing your lawn. I’m not sure I subscribe to that philosophy completely, but Bayne’s experience shows that trouble can indeed find you anywhere if it looks hard enough.

As I followed Trevor’s tribulations I tried to recall if there’s been any other driver injured by a run-in with a critter. The only incident I’m aware of is a tale told by retired racing legend Cale Yarborough about the time he was bitten by a venomous copperhead.

Tough old Cale just shrugged it off and went on about his business.

There was no word on whether the copperhead survived the bite.

–Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 14 2011
One Comment

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  • oh please says:

    Spare us the melodrama. I got bit by a brown recluse in 2003 and nothing really happened, just like for most people. I can’t imagine the level of filth and/or poor health these two people you speak of were living in to lose their damn feet. I wasn’t even aware of the bite until a few days after the fact. I never even sought medical attention. It took a couple months for the effects to subside, but the only thing I have is a purple spot on my leg that is about the size of a slice of pepperoni.