John Force recovery update: NHRA legend in neuro care following brain injury in crash at Virginia Nationals


NHRA drag racing icon and 16-time champion John Force has been moved from neuro-intensive care to acute neuro care at a Virginia trauma hospital as he continues to recover from serious injuries suffered in a crash during the first round the NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on June 23. According to a statement by John Force Racing, the 75-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury among other injuries including a fractured sternum and right wrist injury.

Force won his first-round Funny Car race when his car suffered an explosion past the finish line, sending it veering into the other lane and into a concrete wall at an estimated 302 mph. Force’s car then spun and briefly went airborne before a secondary impact in his original lane.

Force was said to be conscious and speaking with safety personnel before being transported via helicopter to a nearby medical center. According to John Force Racing, he faces a “long and difficult road to recovery” as he deals with cognitive and behavioral symptoms from his brain injury.

On Friday July 5, John Force Racing shared that Force can converse with medical staff and family members, and he has regained his equilibrium enough that he has been able to begin walking with assistance. However, he has also suffered from periods of confusion and will likely have to be moved to a long-term facility specializing in traumatic brain injuries and associated symptoms. According to the team, a timetable for such a move has yet to be determined.

Force is the most prolific and accomplished racer in NHRA history, with 157 race wins and 16 Funny Car titles. He was second in this year’s points standings at the time of his accident, having won two of the first eight races of the season.

Force’s career has not been without its share of serious accidents. In 2007, Force suffered a broken ankle and dislocated wrist among other injuries in a crash at the Fall Nationals in Texas, causing him to miss the remainder of that season.

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