YORBA LINDA, Calif. --
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 Texas hospital.
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 tissue loss.
"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."
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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