Jack Roush returned to the racetrack on Friday for the first time since his plane crash. In speaking with reporters, he confirmed that he lost his left eye in the crash and fractured his back, among other things.
But as everyone now knows, it could have been much worse. Here's a transcript of Roush's comments from Friday:
Will you not be able to fly anymore?
I think it's very likely that I'll be able to fly. I've got to get recovered. I have to go through my recovery. 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 why I can't fly with one eye.
Do you feel lucky?
I feel very lucky. I've had several bites at the apple here. I'm really proud at the way the organization has rallied. We were gaining in our performance moving from not where I wanted to be in an area of the top 10 into the top five. Robby Reiser and Chris Andrews and Greg Erwin and Bob Osborne and Jimmy Fennig and Donnie Wingo have done a great job keeping the cars going.
Roush Fenway Racing will out-live me, and it will out-live anybody else that is with the company today. We've got the plans in place for that. This was a little test case. How can you do without Jack? Well it's bigger than me. It's bigger than anybody.
The organization has been very strong and we're peaking at the right time of our year. We're approaching the Chase here, with I think there's four races including this one left, and so if we don't have a mechanical error and miss a wreck, we have a good chance to put three cars in the Chase. With the way the cars are running right now, I think that we're in a position to be better for the end of the year than we have been all year.
My point was the momentum for that, the things that were in place, were not impacted by the fact that I had a problem. It happened that I wasn't on my way to a racetrack. It wasn't something silly I was doing erratically or something else that you would say was risky or foolish. It just happened.
From an intellectual, emotional and spiritual perspective, how do you wake up in the morning and say I survived two plane crashes when people don't even survive one?
I survived two car wrecks too, both of them in racing. I've been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to survive and I feel in some ways unworthy. 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.
What is the extent of the injuries? Did you have a surgery and what surgery did you have?
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 its biodegradable and it will come out on its own. I'm still uncomfortable with the fact that I can't breathe 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.
What's the long-term prognosis?
Well, I won't be able to read (spark) plugs in my left eye, but I always use my right eye for that because that's the dominant eye.
Can you just give us the Cliff Notes version of what happened?
I filed my NTSB report today, which is a matter of public record. It speaks for itself. The reality of it – on a trip arrival into Oshkosh, Wisconsin I was put in conflict with the flight plan of another airplane close to the ground, and I was unable to address the conflict and keep the airplane flying. I ground-looped the airplane and I have a compression fracture in my back. I have some damage in my left eye and I've got damage to my left cheek. I'll recover everything but the sight in my left eye.