HomeNewsLocalNHRA Legend John Force Showing Signs of Improvement Following Crash

NHRA Legend John Force Showing Signs of Improvement Following Crash

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – John Force, a 16-time National Hot Rod Association champion from Yorba Linda, is showing daily signs of improvement following a catastrophic crash while racing in Virginia last week, according to an update from John Force Racing.

His family members said in a statement released Sunday that Force, who is 75 years old and was born in Bell Gardens, was able to respond with slight movements when asked to open his eyes, squeeze the hands of his care providers and move his extremities.

He is in the early traumatic brain injury treatment process at a neurological intensive care unit in Virginia. He was transferred to the neurological care center from an intensive care unit on Wednesday.

Force was responding more consistently to commands and opened his eyes Sunday, witnesses said. He was also to say his name, and when prompted gave a thumbs up while his wife and daughters were present.

“The biggest challenge has been managing his extreme agitation and confusion, which causes him significant distress,” John Force Racing said in the statement. “He has repeatedly tried to get out of bed and has been restrained; his doctors have humorously described him as a raging bull. However, he recognized his daughters, wife, Laurie, and called them each by name. And spoke the words, `I love you.’ This, along with continued daily progress has uplifted their spirits.”

Force has a difficult recovery ahead of him, the team said, and he will remain in neurological intensive care with visitation restricted to immediate family members.

“John’s family members extend their deepest gratitude to the medical professionals responsible for his well-being and recovery,” the team said. “They deeply appreciate the overwhelming number of heartfelt messages, prayers, support, and concern from the entire automotive and racing industries. Thank you to sponsors, fans, and the media for respecting the privacy of the Force family and the John Force Racing team members.”

Force, who attended and played football at Cerritos College, hit the concrete guard wall at Virginia Motosports Park during a race at 302 mph in the first round of eliminations in the Virginia Nationals on June 23. He was taken by helicopter to a trauma hospital in Virginia where he was observed and evaluated for his injuries.

His wife Laurie, daughters Brittany, Adria, Ashley and Courtney and other family members have been with Force during his hospital treatments.

Brittany Force is a two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion and races for her father’s team, which is based in Yorba Linda. Ashley Force Hood and Courtney Force have competed in NHRA events in the past for John Force Racing. Adria Force is the CFO of John Force Racing.

Brittany Force, driver of the Cornwall Tools Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, skipped the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio from June 27-30 to be with her father. Austin Prock drove in her place for John Force Racing.

John Force started his NHRA Funny Car racing career in 1978 and won his first NHRA championship in 1990. He won 10 NHRA Funny Car championships from 1990-00 and 10 in a row from 1993-02.

Force survived a violent crash in September 2007 at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He broke his ankle, dislocated his wrist and his fingers and toes were badly mangled in the crash.

He won his 16th NHRA Funny Car championship in 2013. He won the season- opening event the following year in 2014 at the In N Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.

Force won the 157th NHRA Funny Car race of his career at New England Dragway in New Hampshire on June 2.

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