NHRA legend John Force discharged from neurological intensive care

NHRA legend John Force discharged from neurological intensive care

NHRA legend John Force has been discharged from the neurological intensive care unit following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained in a fiery crash at the Virginia Nationals. The 75-year-old racing icon is showing signs of improvement, but his journey to full recovery remains long and challenging.

John Force Racing provided an update on Force’s condition, revealing that he had been heavily sedated due to his injuries. Initially, Force was in the trauma intensive care unit but was moved to the neuro intensive care unit as doctors focused on treating his TBI. In the days following the crash, Force struggled to follow commands such as opening his eyes, squeezing hands, and moving his extremities. However, after being transferred to the neuro intensive care unit, he began to show more consistent responses.

“He became more consistent in responding to commands and finally opened his eyes on day five,” the update read. “Following days of failed attempts, his wife and daughters were overcome with emotions when he murmured his name, ‘John Force,’ and later, when prompted, gave a thumbs up.”

Managing Force’s extreme agitation and confusion has been a significant challenge for his medical team. He has repeatedly tried to get out of bed and has been restrained, with doctors humorously describing him as a “raging bull.” Despite these difficulties, Force recognized his daughters and wife, Laurie, calling them each by name and expressing his love for them. This progress has uplifted the spirits of his family, who remain by his side at the hospital.

Force’s daughter, Brittany Force, has opted out of competing in the NHRA’s Top Fuel division this weekend to stay with her father. The 16-time world champion was injured during the first round of eliminations at the Virginia Nationals. After crossing the finish line at 302 mph, Force’s engine exploded, causing his car to veer into the left lane and hit the wall. The car then nearly flipped on its right side before coming back down on its wheels and hitting the wall in the right lane.

Despite the severity of the crash, Force was alert and responsive to the NHRA safety team after exiting his car. He was transported to a local hospital, where he continues to receive treatment and recover. “Despite the welcomed progress, the 157-time tour winner still faces a long and difficult recovery ahead and, for the immediate future, will remain in neuro intensive care,” the update continued. “John’s family members extend their deepest gratitude to the medical professionals responsible for his well-being and recovery. They deeply appreciate the overwhelming number of heartfelt messages, prayers, support, and concern from the entire automotive and racing industries.”

Force’s team released another statement on Friday, confirming that he had been moved to acute neuro care at the hospital. He is reportedly dealing with cognitive and behavioral symptoms but can converse with family members and staff. Force has also started walking with assistance, although he still experiences periods of confusion. In addition to the TBI, Force sustained a fractured sternum and a right wrist injury. He will likely move to a long-term facility specializing in TBIs, with the timeframe for his recovery still undetermined.

The motorsports world continues to grapple with the impact of Force’s high-speed crash. The accident occurred during the NHRA Virginia Nationals when an engine explosion caused his Funny Car to slam into a concrete wall at over 300 mph. Force was initially placed in trauma intensive care before being moved to the neuro intensive care unit, where the medical team could focus on his head injury.

Immediately after the crash, Force was conscious and talking with the on-site medical team. His family has maintained a daily presence at the hospital, and with their unanimous support, Brittany Force decided not to compete at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, to stay with her father.

Austin Prock, another driver for John Force Racing, will compete this weekend, embodying the courageous and fighting spirit that John Force has instilled in his teams over the years. Prock’s AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS team will proudly carry the torch for the entire John Force Racing organization and its sponsors.

John Force’s 157 racing wins and 16 Funny Car titles place him at the top of the NHRA’s all-time wins list. His career, which began in 1978, has spanned six decades and seen three of his daughters follow him into the drag-racing circuit. Despite the challenges ahead, Force’s legacy as the most successful racer in NHRA history remains intact.

Source: Fox News, Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports

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