ABOUT the Rapid Response movie

In the early days of motorsports, fatalities were common and safety was barely an afterthought. While all athletes face the possibility of painful life-altering injuries and even death in their pursuit of victory, there is a point where the risk becomes too great. Rapid Response is a documentary about people who feared racing had crossed the line from sport to death sentence and pushed back, innovating safety standards for racing and the medical care drivers received in the event of an accident.

“Drivers in those days kind of accepted getting hurt.”
- Three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser, Rapid Response

In 1966, medical student Stephen Olvey started volunteering at the Indianapolis 500. As a life-long racing fan, it was a dream come true. Unfortunately, the dream rapidly evolved into a nightmare as Olvey witnessed numerous gut-wrenching accidents, made all the worse by the terrifying lack of medical care available to drivers.

Once a doctor, Olvey set off on a mission to revolutionize motorsports, taking it from one of the most fatal sports to one of the safest. Rapid Response traces the roots of safety at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 60s, highlighting motorsports' most fatal era, and expansion to other circuits through the 70s and 80s. The science and procedures Olvey and his team developed during this three decades long journey still influence modern trauma medicine, the United States military, NASA, and consumer vehicles.

Picture of a young Steven Olvay.

Rapid Response features interviews with current and former race car drivers, including those who dared to take the track during the darker days of the sport like Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and Chip Ganassi. Rapid Response also features extensive interviews with Dr. Stephen Olvey and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell.

Based on the memoir Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life-Saver by Dr. Stephen Olvey, the Rapid Response documentary highlights some of the most significant safety innovations in the world of racing including the development of the traveling safety team, trauma medicine, concussion research, and advanced orthopedic surgery as well as the professionals who pioneered them.

About Rapid Response

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