Motorsport.com learned at 12:55 p.m. (EDT) from the University of Alabama Birmingham Trauma Center that Jack Roush has been upgraded to serious condition. Following is the statement issued this morning from Roush Racing. Geoff Smith, president...
Motorsport.com learned at 12:55 p.m. (EDT) from the University of Alabama Birmingham Trauma Center that Jack Roush has been upgraded to serious condition. Following is the statement issued this morning from Roush Racing.
Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, met with the media at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday morning prior to the NASCAR Winston Cup Aaron's 499 to provide another update on the condition of Jack Roush, who was injured in a plane crash Friday evening.
GEOFF SMITH, President, Roush Racing
"Good morning. First of all, Jack remains in critical condition, although that designation means a variety of things. He's still in intensive care and that's partly related to the critical condition designation, as we understand it. Anyway, yesterday, late afternoon, he had progressed sufficiently to encourage the doctors that he could take the anesthetic to be able to do the surgical repairs to the bone damage to his left leg, which was femur, shin and ankle work.
"He took the anesthetic so well that they were able to complete, on their laundry list of things they wanted to do, in his left leg, they were able to complete that. He rested successfully overnight, had a good night, and signs are good. And yesterday, there are many stories from the family and Roush personnel that were with him. He recognized everybody that was talking to him, and he would respond to questions. He'd acknowledge that he'd understand by squeezing the left hand, squeezing the right hand. He had ways to gesture, to let you know that he wanted more information from you on a topic, so we were all just feeling really good about that. Of course, you understand that he ingested a lot of murky lake water, and so we just have to watch him pretty closely here. They're going to keep on a respirator for a period of time out of possible concerns. There's a lot a lot of things going on for possible concerns and worrying. We all need for more time elapse, but I can say that we're all greatly encouraged by the news of the day. As we did yesterday, as there are upgrades and new things that occur during the day, we'll post them and we'll let you know. Are there any questions?"
WHAT TYPE OF SURGERY WAS PERFORMED ON HIS LEG?
"He had more than one broken area in the femur with an open break, and so they were able to insert a steel rod in the femur to stabilize that, and then he still has a leg wound there which they're letting heal from the inside-out, which, I guess is standard practice on account of worrying about infection there. They repaired some damage in the knee. The shin was a basic setting. And they put pins and plates in the ankle, both bones in his ankle had to be plated and pinned."
IS HE AWARE OF WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM?
"Evan Lyall, the president of our parent company, was there, and through gestures Jack was asking what happened. He didn't know. 'I've got this respirator here,' didn't want it. 'Do you know why you're here?' Shook his head no. 'You're here because you were at your birthday party. You were in an airplane accident. You were the only one in the plane. You have this leg injuries that are going to have to be repaired.' But because he's been heavily sedated since Friday afternoon, it's unclear to us at what point he's remembering while he's on drugs and remembering while he's not on drugs."
DID THEY GIVE YOU AN IDEA ABOUT THE HEAD INJURY?
"There had been no swelling that was reported to us, which had them greatly encouraged over that period of time, and it progressed so much - let's put it this way: the fact that they felt comfortable with being able to go forward with the anesthetic, the general anesthetic for the leg, was a very clear signal to us that the concern over the head injury as a life-threatening situation was substantially diminished."
CAN YOU NARROW THE DEFINITION OF "HEAD INJURY"?
"We had the term, it's DIA, and I can't remember what those initials are, but he didn't fracture anything. He hit his head, but they didn't know how much of the injury might be from hitting his head and how much might be from the fact that he was underwater for a period of time without oxygen. But the fact that he didn't have brain swelling was a big indicator that the underwater period - they expected if there was serious injury coming from that, it would result in swelling. So that hadn't occurred. He got rattled pretty good, there's not much question about that, so until he's all out of it all, there's a lot of things we don't know. But I can tell you some of things I do know, that it's a lot different critical, the word 'critical' means a lot different to me today than it did at midnight Friday night."
HAS ANYBODY AT ROUSH RACING HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH LARRY HICKS YET?
"Yes. Larry Hicks, he's a guy that prefers you didn't know his name, but I told him last night that 'Larry, you're a hero, man, and there's no way that I'm going to stop from talking about you.' For those of you who don't know, Larry Hicks was a Marine Corps Sgt. Major who retired around 1990, who trained in search-and-air rescue, had assignments in Japan, leading groups that's job was to rescue pilots, and he told me last night that he never actually had to rescue one. Jack was the first one that he rescued. He's rehabilitating from chemotherapy. There's so many things about what happened, that the intersection of fate does cross here because if you're going to go down in an airplane, you're in the middle of Alabama, and the first part is if you hit the ground, you wouldn't have survived, and their happened to be a lake there. Well, you're going to go in the lake underwater, so that's a bad thing, too. So what do you got to have? You got to have a 22-year Marine veteran, 50 yards away watching you do this, in a boat, and come immediately, immediately, to you, dive in, and guess what? He knew enough about seeing the plane that he knew kind of where to look in the plane, but didn't find Jack on the first dive. Didn't find Jack on the second dive, because what had happened, apparently, that on the impact in this particular type of plane, moved Jack up, literally, up a seat, forward. But on the third time, not only did he find him, but he was able to recognize the kind of harness that Jack was in, a quick-release harness that he had seen in the military and he knew how to uncouple it, with the flick of the wrist uncoupled it and Jack floated up in his arms and up he went. And Larry knew enough, first of all, hauling the body out on the wing, he knew enough to, you know, he had to get the water out of his lungs. How many of us would know? Right? Get the water out, boom, he got the lungs clean. And then he applied the resuscitation, and I think the fifth attempt, and Jack was on his own.
"He also had the presence to stay there with him, and try not to haul him in his boat or move the bones around, he knew he had to keep him quiet so he kept him there until the emergency unit arrived, and they put him in kind of a water basket to get him there. And in the meantime, Larry had av gas that was around the plane, so he got this av gas on him, and he wasn't like fire burns, but it gave him a skin rash. We have friends that were there at the scene and Larry wants to say, 'I got a little sunburned,' but was he rashed up pretty good. What a miracle that is, to have your guardian angel 50 yards away, right when you got to have him. Because if it weren't for Larry Hicks, this mood would be much different."
WILL JACK BE IN THIS HOSPITAL FOR A WHILE?
"We're just going one day at a time. If all these checklists of worrisome things of infection, if they get checked off relatively quickly, then we got a man in a cast who'll be out here on a golf cart in a short period of time."
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO LET LARRY HICKS AVOID BEING A HERO ARE YOU?
"I told him last night, I said, 'Larry, just relax and enjoy it. There's no way.' He just said, 'Well, I'm just doing what any of all you would do for me.' 'Larry, I wouldn't had a clue how to get off that dock to go do it."
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR THIS MAN?
"I told him that it was coming, that he was part of our family, whether he likes it or not, and when things quiet down for him and quiet down for us a bit, we're going to be figuring out something there."
HAVE YOU MET WITH HIM PERSONALLY?
"No, on the phone."
WAS HE AWARE OF WHO JACK IS?
"He didn't know when he pulled him out of the plane. He didn't know, people gathered around him. He didn't know as they both went together to the hospital. He didn't know when someone told him. But the moment he told his family, it was like, 'Don't you know who that is? That's Jack Roush. He's got these four Winston Cup teams and lah-de-dah-de-dah. This is a famous guy.' 'Oh. Okay.'"
WHAT ABOUT THE INJURY TO JACK'S OTHER LEG?
"There was a little confusion yesterday because of the way that we stated that both ankle bones were broken, but it's both sides of the left ankle, not ankles, both ankles. And there's minor bumps and bruises, but there's nothing broken over on the right side."
Jack Roush injured in plane crash: plane crash