John Force faces 'long and difficult recovery' as he begins to overcome neurological obstacles, team says


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John Force “has begun to show signs of improvement, according to family members who have maintained a presence at the trauma hospital to which he was transported by air ambulance,” the National Hot Rod Association legend’s team said in an update on Sunday.

John Force Racing described the challenges the driver has faced in the days after he was involved in a horrific crash at the Virginia Nationals last weekend.

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John Force watches Top Fuel qualifying during the NHRA Virginia Nationals on June 22, 2024, at Virginia Motorsports Park in North Dinwiddie, Virginia. (Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The team said Force failed to adhere to commands to open his eyes, squeeze the hands of his care personnel and move his extremities early in his recovery process from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, upon his move to the neuro intensive care unit, the team said he “began to gain some momentum.”

Force started to respond to commands more consistently and opened his eyes on his fifth day in the hospital. He was able to whisper his name and give a thumbs up.

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John Force at the NHRA Virginia Nationals on June 23, 2024. Seconds later, Force would experience a massive explosion and crash and was taken to a local medical facility for treatment. (Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“The biggest challenge has been managing his extreme agitation and confusion, which causes him significant distress,” the team added. “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.”

The team said Force, 75, still faces a “long and difficult recovery ahead.”

“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.”

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John Force looks down the track following the first round of qualifying for the 17th Annual Toyota Nationals NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Las Vegas. (David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“Catastrophic engine failure” was said to be the cause of Force’s Funny Car crash last weekend. The engine exploded and caused Force to drive across the median of the track and into the wall. His car then veered back across the centerline and into the other wall.

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