Force beginning to show improvement in Virginia neuro ICU

John Force is beginning to show daily improvement and respond to commands as he continues to recover from a crash that hospitalized him last weekend in Virginia.

John Force Racing released a new update Sunday morning in which they confirmed he had been heavily sedated from his injuries. Force was moved from the trauma intensive care unit to neuro intensive care unit Wednesday, and doctors continue to treat a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Force “failed to follow the series of commands to open his eyes, squeeze the hands of his care providers and move his extremities” in the days after the crash during which he received early treatment. He was able to “respond with slight movements” but the biggest improvements have come since being moved to the neuro intensive care unit.


“He became more consistent 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 promoted, gave a thumbs up.

“The biggest challenge has been managing his extreme agitation and confusion, which causes him significant distress. 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’s family remain with him at the hospital. Brittany Force is not competing this weekend at Norwalk.

The 75-year-old legend was injured in the first round of eliminations at Virginia. After crossing the finish line at 302mph, Force’s engine blew and his car crossed to the left lane and hit the wall. The car then came back across the track, nearly flipped on its right side, before coming back down on its wheels and hitting the wall in the right lane.

The 16-time world champion was alert and responding to the NHRA safety safari after exiting his car. Force 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.”

The full update can be found on the John Force Racing website.

Story originally appeared on Racer