NHRA icon John Force transferred from hospital to rehab after fiery crash

Drag racing icon John Force is being transferred to a rehabilitation center to seek treatment for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) he suffered in a high-speed crash at the NHRA Virginia Nationals in late June.

John Force Racing announced Tuesday that Force, 75, was airlifted from VCU Medical Center to a neurological rehab center three-hours away that specializes in treating cognitive and behavioral symptoms from his TBI. His daughter Brittany Force, a two-time NHRA champion, said the new facility will be ‘closer to home’ in California.

‘Family members said that no timetable had been established for the length of Force’s stay at the new facility which was selected because of its success in treating other race car drivers with similar issues,’ his team said Tuesday in a statement shared to social media.

Force, a 16-time NHRA champion, was injured in a fiery crash on June 23 at Virginia Motorsports Park. He had just won his heat with a 302 mph run when his engine exploded, forcing his Funny Car to crash into a concrete wall at high speeds. He was able to exit the wreckage, but did not escape without injury. Force suffered a TBI and fractured sternum, among other injuries, and was airlifted to a Virginia hospital, where he remained for 15 days.

Force has showed many ‘encouraging signs’ since the crash. His team previously announced that Force has been able to ‘converse’ with others and has ‘regained his equilibrium,’ allowing him to walk with assistance, prior to being released from the hospital. But Force’s medical team said the Hall of Famer ‘is prone to periods of confusion,’ a TBI symptom, and has a long road to recovery ahead.

‘Force’s departure from the facility to which he was airlifted after crashing at more than 300 miles per hour was considered by family members to be a major step forward in the recovery process,’ his team said in a statement shared on social media. ‘However, medical staff cautioned that the road ahead still is a difficult one.’

Brittany Force shared several photos of herself enjoying an afternoon out with her father on Monday, which marked her 38th birthday. In the photos, Force was sporting a cast on his right arm.

‘Most special birthday ever!’ Brittany Force captioned her Instagram gallery. ‘After 15 days in Virginia we have been approved to move to a rehabilitation center closer to home. We also got outside for a stroll downtown and finally enjoyed some ice cream together! Beyond thankful and blessed to celebrate 38 with my dad & loved ones. Thank you everyone for all the love you sent our way! God is good!’ ’

Force has won a total of 157 Funny Car events during his legendary racing career, which began in 1978. He currently ranks fourth in the 2024 NHRA Funny Car standings through 10 of 21 events this season. 

This post appeared first on USA TODAY