IPS: Jason Priestley medical condition shows improvement

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2002 -- Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series driver Jason Priestley was listed in guarded condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Aug. 13, said Dr. Scott Bjerke, medical director of Trauma Services for...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2002 -- Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series driver Jason Priestley was listed in guarded condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Aug. 13, said Dr. Scott Bjerke, medical director of Trauma Services for Methodist Hospital.

Priestley, 32, from Vancouver, British Columbia, suffered multiple injuries in an Infiniti Pro Series practice accident Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway. He suffered a moderate concussion as well as a fracture of his ninth thoracic vertebra. In addition to a contusion around his left eye, Priestley has lacerations on the bridge of his nose and left cheek, neck lacerations and fractures in both feet.

"Mr. Priestley is currently in guarded condition but showing remarkable improvement," Bjerke said. "He is a strong-willed young man who is doing great. We expect him to continue to do so.

"He is being cared for by basically some of the best trauma-team specialists in the country from orthopedics, spine surgery, neurosurgery and general surgery."

Priestley was listed in serious condition Aug. 12 when arriving at Methodist after a transfer via air from the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Ky. Serious and guarded condition are similar, Bjerke said.

Priestley will undergo surgery on his feet at Methodist at an undetermined time, Bjerke said. Priestley will remain at Methodist for approximately 10 to 14 days, Bjerke said.

"He's surprised me so far," Bjerke said. "So I expect it may be even less if he has his wishes.

"There are no signs of paralysis, and we expect him to be, except for hospital policy where he's got to go out in a wheelchair, we expect him to be walking from the wheelchair to his car when he's ready to be out of here."

Priestley is talking with his doctors and family, said Bjerke and Priestley's father, Lorne Priestley.

"It's getting better, and it feels good," Lorne Priestley said. "The whole family, of course, we feel better as that happens. It's gratifying, and the support we're getting is phenomenal.

"The response we've had literally from around the world has been just amazing. We want to thank everybody."

-irl/ips-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jason Priestley