11 October 2013
Dario Franchitti leaves hospital in Houston
Dario Franchitti has left hospital in Houston following surgery to stabilise an ankle injury.
Dario Franchitti has left the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston and is heading back to Indianapolis, where he will receive further evaluation and faces a second surgery on his broken right ankle.
Franchitti was photographed by his racing driver brother Marino as he walked under his own power - albeit somewhat gingerly and using a walker to help him. He was wearing a temporary caste on his right ankle, and also a back brace to support and protect his two fractured vertebrae, and was pictured with his dogs who had been flown in by his estranged wife, actress Ashley Judd.
“I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and I'm thankful to have such a great family and such wonderful friends and fans," said Franchitti in a statement released by his IZOD IndyCar Series team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and also carried on Franchitti's personal Twitter feed.
"Thanks to everyone at the hospital and the track who took such good care of me during my stay in Houston," Franchitti added. "I look forward to watching Scott, Alex and the Target team next weekend on television, and will be pulling for them as they go for another championship."
Franchitti has already had initial surgery to stabilise the ankle fracture a few hours after the crash in the last lap of the weekend's second doubleheader race in Houston, but will need a second surgery in the coming days to effect a more permanent treatment for the injury.
IndyCar's medical director Dr Michael Olinger confirmed that Franchitti would not require surgery for the fractured vertebrae, which are expected to heal with normal rest and rehabilitation over the winter. Franchitti also suffered a concussion in the violent accident which occurred after a collision with Takuma Sato, who was not injured in the incident.
With Franchitti ruled out of action for the final race of the 2013 season, his place in the #10 car will be taken at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California by his old friend Alex Tagliani.
"I'm sure as Tag has put out there before, it's a tough situation for anybody to be in," said Franchitti's team mate Scott Dixon, who goes into the final race of the year in the lead of the championship standings and facing a head-to-head duel for the title at Fontana with Penske's Helio Castroneves.
"I think they picked the best guy, I'm great friends with Tag, we hang out a fair bit, and it makes it an easy transition," said Dixon. "Obviously last year Alex was very fast at Fontana until he had a mechanical issue and exited the race, but he was running, I think, in first or second position for most of the later parts of it. So welcome to the team, and as I said, he's a good friend and a hell of a competitor, and he's going to be tough to beat there next weekend, I think."
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