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NHRA Icon John Force’s Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

Richmond, Virginia — Drag racing icon John Force is walking with assistance less than two weeks after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a high-speed crash at the NHRA Virginia Nationals in late June.

John Force Racing announced on Friday that Force has been moved from intensive care to acute neurology care at a Virginia hospital, showing “encouraging signs” in his treatment. The 75-year-old has regained enough equilibrium to walk with the help of medical staff and has been conversing with medical personnel, family, and friends.

Force, a 16-time NHRA champion, was injured on June 23 at Virginia Motorsports Park when his engine exploded after a 302 mph run, causing his Funny Car to collide with a concrete wall. He exited the wreckage but sustained a TBI and a fractured sternum, among other injuries. He was airlifted to a Virginia hospital for immediate care.

Despite Force’s “positive response” to treatment, doctors caution that his recovery will be “long and difficult.” Force is experiencing cognitive and behavioral symptoms, including periods of confusion. The next step in his recovery may involve a move to a long-term facility specializing in TBI and related symptoms, though the timing is yet to be determined.

Courtney Force, John’s daughter and former NHRA Funny Car driver, expressed gratitude for the support her family has received. “Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and uplifting words, it really means everything to us and the entire JFR fam,” she wrote on social media.

Force has been legendary, winning 157 Funny Car events since 1978. He currently ranks fourth in the 2024 NHRA Funny Car standings through ten of the twenty-one events this season.

This incident highlights the importance of safety measures in high-speed sports and the serious risks associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Awareness and proper medical response are essential for improving outcomes for TBI survivors.

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