On the one-year anniversary of a life-changing crash, teen race car driver Joshua Jackson returned to El Paso to thank the professionals on his care team – many of whom were Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) faculty and residents.
In 2015, then 17-year-old Jackson was competing at a race track at the Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, NM. After being hit by another car, the protective roll cage of Jackson’s car was torn through by a third car, cracking the NASCAR hopeful’s helmet and skull. Jackson, an Albuquerque, NM resident, had driven the course nearly forty times and had been in plenty of wrecks, but this one was different. The unconscious teen was airlifted to University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC).
“When Joshua arrived at the emergency room, he had exposed brain and a massive scalpel laceration. He was in bad shape,” said Paul Livingston, M.D., a TTUHSC El Paso emergency medicine resident. “The best decision made that night was the decision by the helicopter team to bring him here.”
Though Jackson lost his left eye, the teenager is now resuming his senior year pain-free and off of medications. For Ginger Jackson, Joshua’s mother, the support of the racing community and hospital was unexpected.
“We had people helping with food, clothes, living arrangements, donations and fundraisers,” Ginger said. “All kinds of things happened that a lot of it, I didn’t know until after.”
With support coming from as far as Australia and Hawaii, the Jackson family temporarily took up residence in El Paso — nearly 300 miles away from their New Mexico home. Despite continuing rehabilitation – regaining movement to his right side and relearning to walk one year after the crash — the champion teen driver with multiple rookie of the year awards has plans to return to the racetrack.
“The word thanks isn’t enough, but it’s all we have,” Ginger said.