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Franchitti: “It’s going to take a while to get back to normal”

Mar 2, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

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Three-time Indianapolis 500 and four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti is continuing to recover his fitness after his devastating, career-ending crash last fall at the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Franchitti suffered a fractured ankle, two broken vertebrae, and a concussion in the crash, which took place on the final lap in Race 2 of the October doubleheader at Reliant Park. In November, he announced that he would be forced to retire because of the extent of those injuries.

In comments made to the Edinburgh (Scotland) Evening News, Franchitti revealed that he’s been cleared to drive a road car again but indicated that he still has a long way to go in his recovery efforts.

“I still limp quite badly,” he said. “I can’t run but I can ride my bike and get on the rowing machine. As for walking around, I’m still a wee bit restricted.

“My head, well, I just get tired. That’s the difficult part, the one thing they can’t quantify, so you have to be very careful. The brain is such a big unknown because they still don’t understand it.

“My brain is still pretty damaged and it’s going to take a while to get back to normal.”

Franchitti has stayed on with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in an advisory role. The Scotsman won two of his three Indy 500s and three of his four IndyCar titles with TCGR in his driving career.

He told the Evening News that he’s looking forward to a “fascinating” role as an ambassador for the sport, but that he still wishes he could be in the cockpit again.

He also said his thoughts were with seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, who remains in a medically induced coma after suffering head injuries in a skiing accident late last December.

“His situation is just terrible – the guy lived his whole life up to that point on the absolute limit and then that happens,” Franchitti said.

  1. Jeff - Mar 3, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    Wow, I had no idea Dario was still recovering.
    Hope his brain gets back to normal soon.

  2. testover6370 - Mar 3, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I still hope he winds up in the TV booth, but any way that he remains actively involved in the sport is a positive.

  3. worknman24hours - Mar 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Dario didn’t quit because he had simple injuries.

    He’s fought back numerous times from that before.

    But it was the combination of so many -“You were so close, Dario” ( according to the doctors) – injuries in this incident including the scary similarities to another fatal Indycar accident that finally tipped the scales for Dario.

    As far as his brain,I hope it gets back to ‘Dario’ because few of us could ever say the limit he stayed at for so many years was normal.

    Glad to see Dario is well enough to give us an update and that things are moving in a positive way.

    The bad thing about brain injuries is the total frustration the person going through that feels.

    Nobody can see it outside of you and you know very well that you are dealing with an unknown you didn’t have before.

    Everything you do, you second guess-it’s a maddening process.

    Hopefully, Dario continues to improve and finds a healthy place to continue on in racing in some form.

    Team owner, driver trainer something like that.

    The need for speed never goes away-once it’s in your blood and when we see Dario smiling at trackside again because the driver he’s backing has just won his first race-well, then I guess you could say Dario’s back to ‘normal’.

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