YORBA LINDA, Calif. --
Mon, 17 Dec 2007, 08:54 AM
Vigorous Physical Therapy Paying Dividends for Force
Courtesy of Dave Densmore
Photo copyright 2007 Brandon Baker Photos
14-Time Champion On Target for Pre-Season Testing
John Force holds court on a visit
his shop facility.
The lengthy physical therapy sessions he is undergoing five days each week are beginning to pay big
dividends for drag racing icon John Force as he tries to recover from injuries suffered in a Sept.
23 crash at the Texas Motorplex.
That was the assessment Wednesday of physical therapist Robert Ortmayer, who has been working with
Force since the 14-time NHRA Funny Car Champion returned to his California home after 27 days in a
The 58-year-old Force, whose goal is to be back in a Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Funny Car when
pre-season testing begins in mid-January, was cleared Tuesday to commence light strength training
with the left hand and left foot. He already had been involved in strength work on the less
severely injured right foot and hand.
In the crash, the worst of his career, the 125-time tour winner suffered a compound fracture of the
left ankle, a dislocation of the left wrist so bad that it required the insertion of pins and
application of a hard cast, broken bones in the right foot and hand, a severe laceration of the
right knee with ligament and tendon damage and mangled fingers and toes involving significant
Physical Therapist Robert Ortmayer makes a point
meeting at John Force Racing, Inc.
Even the worst break, that to a left ankle, has healed enough to support 50 per cent of its normal
load. Strength and stamina now are the primary issues for the 14-time Auto Racing All-America
selection who is just eight round wins shy of becoming the first driver to win 1,000 competitive
rounds on the NHRA tour.
"Attitude is everything in these types of recoveries," Ortmayer said. "John is exceptional in that
area. He has done everything we've asked. It's been difficult, but he is one of the most
motivated people with whom I have ever worked. Considering the severity of the accident and the
injuries, his range of movement already is remarkable and he's making more progress every day."
Robert Hight, in cockpit, gives physical
Ortmayer a quick
primer on driving a Funny Car
With an eye toward pre-season testing, Ortmayer toured the John Force Racing, Inc., shop facility
Tuesday so that Force's teammate, two-time POWERade Championship runner-up Robert Hight, could
orient him to the cockpit of a Funny Car and explain what occurs during a typical quarter mile run.
The owner of Yorba Linda Physical Therapy then met with the JFR crew chiefs and Ford
representatives, including Ford Racing boss Dan Davis, for an update on changes to the 2008 cockpit
and chassis that might present new physical challenges for the 1996 Driver of the Year.
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