Great racer dies - P&P for the fam
Eric Medlen was an amazing person. I was friends with many of his crew members and a friendly aquaintance of his and his racing family. Please pray for his family and our entire racing community as we deal with the loss.
"Eric Medlen, 33, who had emerged as one of the most popular young drivers in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, succumbed Friday afternoon to injuries suffered when his race car crashed into a guardwall during a Monday test session at Gainesville Raceway.
The talented Funny Car driver never regained consciousness. After being treated at the track, he was transported by ShandsCair helicopter to Shands at the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:PLACE w:st="on"><ST1:PLACETYPE w:st="on">University</ST1:PLACETYPE> of <ST1:PLACENAME w:st="on">Florida</ST1:PLACENAME></ST1:PLACE> medical center where medical staff treated him for four days for a severe closed head injury.
"Eric suffered from severe traumatic brain injury with diffuse axonal injury, or DAI," said Dr. Joseph Layon, professor of anesthesiology, surgery, and medicine and the chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF. "Survival rates associated with DAI are low.
"On Tuesday, UF and Shands neurosurgery team performed a cranjectomy and removed the front portion of the skull to relieve pressure and attempt to improve blood flow to the brain," Layon explained. "Despite receiving the most aggressive treatment, Eric continued to have uncontrollable intracranial pressure. His body lost the ability to manage its salt and water levels, and he began displaying the complicating factors associated with DAI.
"That is when Eric's family elected to honor Eric's wishes and remove him from the artificial life support systems. Our hearts go out to Eric's loved ones."
"On behalf of the family, I want to thank the medical staff at Shands not just for giving Eric the very best care he could have received, but for the compassion it showed for Eric and all those close to him," said his father, John Medlen. "I also want to thank the thousands of people who offered their prayers and support to us during this very difficult time."
As recently as Thursday night, more than 100 drivers and crewmembers representing every Indianapolis-based race team attended a prayer vigil organized by Kelly Bustos, team manager for Tuttle Motorsports, which fields Top Fuel dragsters for 2006 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner J.R. Todd, one of Medlen's closest friends in the sport."