Student Spotlight – Ashley Hazelton

Published - January 20, 2016

Before she was a student in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at CBD College, midget car racer Ashley Hazelton suffered a serious racing accident in which she fractured her neck. She was told that she would not be able to walk again, but after a year of refusing to give up during her grueling physical therapy sessions she made a full recovery—and she went on to become the 2014 USAC HPD Western Dirt Midget Champion! Not many people would have the fortitude to get back into the very same car in which the accident occurred for the win the way Ashley did, and now she is studying to become a Physical Therapist Assistant because she has discovered a passion for motivating people who are in need of physical therapy to show them that they can do succeed in their recovery goals.

race 4 wheelerWe were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview current Physical Therapy Assistant student Ashley Hazelton for this month’s newsletter.

Why did you chose the PTA program?

“I’ve always wanted to help people get back on their feet, recover, and get back to a normal life. I have a personal connection with the profession because I went through a serious recovery process which included Physical Therapy after a terrible racing accident.”

When did you first develop a passion for PTA?

“In 2013 I fractured my neck while racing. Just so everyone knows, I am a professional midget race car driver. I hit the wall hard during a race and flipped and landed on my head. The cage of the car collapsed completely because of the impact. I ended up with what doctors called a hangman fracture. I technically should not be walking today. I owe my recovery to the Physical Therapy I had to go through.

“The PT process was extremely difficult. I will never forget the early stages of PT when the therapist would try to make me stand up, and I wasn’t able. Slowly but surely, I began getting bet-ter. My recovery and the treatments that I would undergo were what ultimately made me passionate about becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant.

“The PT process took a year. I was immobilized. I was in a halo around my stomach, and I had screws in my head. I looked like Frankenstein! I did the PT at a great clinic, and I knew I could do it. I knew that I could not give up and not to have sympathy for myself. I had to be strong. It was horrible at first, but then I realized that this was what had to be done.”

When did you first start racing?

“I started go-kart racing when I was twelve years old. My dad got me into it. My brothers were nev-er interested in racing, so I was his last hope. At nineteen I got seriously involved in dirt track racing, and I have been hooked ever since. From there it was an addiction and I could not stop. As I became more competitive, doors opened for me. Soon after that I went into Ford Focus midget racing, and then I quickly got sponsored. I am currently sponsored by Honda, CBD College and TRC Trans-missions.”

Can you tell us about some of your racing accomplishments?
racing accomplishments
“In 2014, which was one year after my recovery, I got back into the same race car that I crashed in and I became the 2014 USAC HPD Western Dirt Midget Champion. I was the champion for the western HPD midgets (Honda Power Development). This competition began in 1959, and I am the sixth woman in the history of the competition to win. I also won the One Pavement Racing at Las Vegas Bull Ring competition in 2015. Just this past month, I got first place at the 2016 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals!

So far, how have your balanced your education and your racing?

“Saturday I race, Monday through Fri-day I spend at School, and Sunday is study time.”

How did you first hear about CBD?

“I first discovered CBD College on the Internet. When I walked in I fell in love with the school and the people. I was so nervous about the whole wait list process. CBD is one of the best schools that I have been too. A private sponsor is supporting my education.

“I want to help people. A lot of people would not want to get back into the car that almost got them paralyzed. I want to show people that they can do this.”

Physical Therapy Assistant Program student Ashley Hazelton





Physical Therapy Assistant Program student Ashley Hazelton is the second in our ongoing series of interviews with notable current and former students of CBD College. If you know a former or current CBD student who you believe has an inspirational story others would enjoy hearing, please contact CBD College’s Student Services department by emailing or call (213) 427-2200 to nominate them.

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