|Sunday, September 23, 2007
Force undergoing surgery following top-end collision in Dallas
|By Rob Geiger Sr.
Sunday, 9:30 p.m. Central: Fourteen-time NHRA POWERade Funny Car champion John Force is undergoing surgery at Baylor University Medical Center to repair damage to his knee, ankle, and wrist sustained in a high-speed collision with fellow competitor Kenny Bernstein in the second round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.
Force entered surgery at 8 p.m. Central time for what is expected to be a four-hour surgery, according to team publicist Dave Densmore.
Sunday: 6:20 p.m. Central: Drag racing's biggest star, 14-time NHRA POWERade champion John Force, suffered a left broken ankle and wrist in a nasty top-end collision Sunday with fellow NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein in the second round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas. Force was airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for further treatment.
Their Funny Cars got together just after they crossed the finish line. The numbers, although unofficial, showed Force crossing with a 4.863 at 315.34 mph to Bernstein's 4.904 at 312.06 mph.
Doctors updated John Force's family and team following a thorough evaluation of his multiple injuries and the prognosis for a full recovery is very good.
Force sustained a broken left ankle and severe abrasion on his right knee. Force's left wrist also was dislocated and broken and he sustained some severe abrasions and slight fractures on a number of fingers on his right hand.
Throughout all procedures Force was alert and responsive. CAT scans performed came back negative and showed no damage other than the injuries to his legs and hands. Surgeons will begin cleaning a number of his injuries tonight and possibly setting his fractures if the swelling is at an acceptable level.
Team spokesman Dave Densmore initially reported Force's injuries to the media. "He was asking to talk to Laurie, his wife, and Ashley and Robert Hight, so that was a good sign," Densmore said. "He is in a lot of pain, obviously. They can't take passengers on the helicopter so the family is off to the hospital in a car."
"John has very serious injuries to his hands, his legs, and his feet that will require extensive work-up and treatment," said NHRA doctor Dwight Shewchuk, who was first on the scene with the Safety Safari. "Nothing appears life-threatening at this time but he certainly has significant injuries so he's been taking to Baylor Hospital where he'll be further evaluated.
"Although he was alert and conscious throughout the whole thing he was demonstrating some signs of a concussion as he was asking the same question over and over. But his vital signs were stable and he's on his way."
Daughter Ashley Force, who won her second-round race with Del Worsham, opted not to compete in the semifinals.
Said Bernstein, who was not injured in the incident, "First of all I just pray that John's going to be okay," Bernstein said. "I know he's hurt and the main thing I'm praying for is that he gets 100-percent recovery. That's more important than anything right now for me, Sheryl, and our team. I know he was talking to me there and he was asking if he hurt me. That's typical John right there. He'll be okay. He's a strong-willed man, he'll be fine."