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Friday, August 13, 2010

Jack Roush loses sight in left eye, vows to keep flying

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jack Roush, as we expected, hurried right back to the racetrack as soon as he could, just a couple days after being released from the hospital and less than 3 weeks after a plane crash left him hospitalized.

What we did not expect is the news that broke Friday about how the crash has affected Roush. He has lost sight in his left eye as a result of his accident.

Still, in true Jack Roush fashion, he said he doesn’t intend to let the injury prevent him from flying, which is one of his biggest passions.
“I have to go through my recover he said,” he said. “Wiley Post was a one-eyed pilot and there’s no restriction. Maybe if you’re an airline pilot you can’t have one eye, but there’s not a reason I can’t fly with one eye.”

Taking a more spiritual look at his situation, Roush said he feels lucky to survive his latest brush with death, which was second plane wreck in recent years.

“I survived two car wrecks too, both of them in racing. I’ve been extraordinarily luck to have been able to survive and I feel in some ways unworthy,” he said. “I’m not sure I’ve done enough yet for the chances that I’ve had. Maybe that’s recognized and they’re just giving me more time.”

Roush broke down his injury list, and it’s not short. You can visually see the difference in his face.

“I had a damaged left cheek. I had a broken jaw and I had a compression fracture in my back and I’ve got a back brace for the compression fracture. I have hardware in my cheek. I still have packing in my nose because they say it’s biodegradable and it will come out on its own. I’m still uncomfortable with the fact that I can’t breath clearly through my nose. Everything will come back and I was blessed to have great vision in two eyes and now I’ve got great vision in one.”

He said the damage to his eye is permanent: “I’ll recover everything but the sight in my left eye.”

To come back to the track with all that going on shows just how much Roush cares about the race team. Greg Biffle said he has only missed one meeting during his time in the hospital, attending the rest by phone. He also said that 97 percent of the conversation he has had with Roush since the wreck have been about the race team, as that has remained Roush‘s focus throughout his personal struggles.

Other drivers said it was great to Jack back at the track.
“It was pretty cool to go down there and shake his hand and say, ‘Welcome back.’ ” Clint Bowyer said after qualifying

On the topic of racing, Roush was excited about the team’s performance in recent weeks.

“I think that we’re in a position to be better for the end of the year than we have been all year. If we don’t have a mechanical error and miss a wreck, we have a good chance to put three cars in the Chase,” he said.

The fact that this is his concern shows how important racing is to Jack Roush, and I was glad to see him back.

Whether being a one-eyed pilot is a good idea is a whole different topic, but I’m sure the entire racing community is happy to see Jack back, as he has done a lot for the sport and is well-respected.

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