John Force Update Released As Driver Leaves Neuro ICU

John Force, a 16-time NHRA Funny Car world champion, has been moved from neuro-intensive care to acute neuro care following a severe crash, according to the latest update from NHRA.

The incident, which took place at the Virginia Nationals about two weeks ago, saw Force’s vehicle hit a concrete guard wall after a dramatic engine explosion at speeds nearing 300 mph. The revered racer sustained a traumatic brain injury, a fractured sternum, and a right wrist injury during the horrific event.

Force was swiftly airlifted to a hospital where he has been under meticulous medical supervision. Initially placed in a trauma ICU, his condition necessitated a stint in a neurological ICU due to the severity of his injuries. His progress, although gradual, has been marked by significant milestones. Recently, he has been responding to commands, engaging in basic conversations, and walking with assistance, signaling a positive trajectory in his recovery.

However, this road to recovery is not without its hurdles. Force continues to battle cognitive and behavioral symptoms typical of severe TBI, such as confusion and extreme agitation.

John Force
NHRA drag racer John Force looks on during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. NHRA releases update…

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Standing by his side throughout this harrowing experience are Force’s family members, who have not left the hospital since the accident. The family previously stated:

“After five tense days during which he was heavily sedated while battling the effects of injuries suffered in the 300 mile-per-hour crash of his drag racing Funny Car, 16-time NHRA World Champion John Force has begun to show daily signs of improvement, according to family members who have maintained a presence at the trauma hospital to which he was transported by air ambulance on Sunday.

“Early in the treatment process of his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), he failed to follow the series of commands to open his eyes, squeeze the hands of his care providers and move his extremities. Occasionally, he was able to respond with slight movements, but it wasn’t until he moved from trauma intensive care unit to neuro intensive care unit on Wednesday that he began to gain some momentum.

“He became more consistent responding to commands and finally opened his eyes on day five. Following days of failed attempts, his wife and daughters were overcome with emotion when he murmured his name, ‘John Force,’ and later when prompted, gave a thumbs up.”

Looking ahead, the possibility of transferring Force to a specialized long-term facility for further treatment and recovery from TBI is under consideration. The latest update from NHRA concludes:

“According to family, the next step for the man whose career has spanned six decades likely will be a move to a long-term facility specializing in TBI and associated symptoms. A time frame for that move has not yet been determined.”