Former 7-Eleven and Coors Light pro road racer Davis Phinney, who has Parkinson’s disease, underwent successful brain surgery April 4, the same day his 17-year-old son, Taylor found out he’s made the short list for the upcoming summer Olympics on the track. Now doctors report his tremors have all but disappeared after switching on the pacemaker April 25.
According to the Associated Press, surgeons at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, spent about four-and-a-half hours embedding two wires in a section of Davis Phinney’s brain, doing so without complication. They attached a pacemaker to those wires, and the machine was turned on Friday, relieving Phinney of some of his Parkinson’s symptoms almost immediately.
“Everything went very well, very, very well,” said Dr. Jaimie Henderson, the director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at Stanford and Phinney’s surgeon.
The elder Phinney, 48, is married to 1984 Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter-Phinney, who has been traveling with Taylor to his various track events around the world, as the Boulder High School teenager racked up enough points and results to receive confirmation from the UCI that he’s the third-ranked individual pursuit track racer in the world.
This means USA Cycling, the governing body, will nominate the teenage Phinney to the U.S. Olympic team later this spring, 24 years after his mother won the Olympic women’s road race in Los Angeles.
“The ‘generators’ were turned on yesterday,” Carpenter said. “During a two-hour session of testing and tweaking here at Stanford University Hospital, Davis emerged quite literally a new man. While the tremors are not reduced to zero, they are markedly (let’s say 90 percent) reduced – but even more evident was the return of the brightness of his eyes and the intensity of his smile.
“During the session there were moments where he felt ‘jolted,’ tickled, and others where he felt muddled but somewhere in the middle was a peace and ease that most of us feel everyday, if not every minute of every day. Eating with a fork that’s not flipping food across the table, shoulders relaxed because you aren’t carrying the weight of the armor that his body felt trapped in; words don’t suffice.”
Click here to see video interviews with the elder Phinney from his temporary lodgings in Tiburon, California.