Motor racing: IndyCar's Justin Wilson saves six lives through donated organs

IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after suffering a severe head injury during a wreck in the closing laps of a race.
IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after suffering a severe head injury during a wreck in the closing laps of a race.REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Tragic IndyCar driver Justin Wilson saved six lives through organs donated following his death, his brother revealed on Tuesday.

Stefan Wilson wrote on Twitter that his elder brother's organs were used in transplants after his death at a Pennsylvania hospital on Monday.

"With @giftoflife @justin-wilson saved 6 lives today," Stefan Wilson wrote.

"He just keeps setting the bar higher. Keep Julia & the girls in your prayers #myherojw."

Wilson, 37, died on Monday after succumbing to head injuries suffered when he was struck by a piece of debris from a fellow competitor's car at Pocono Raceway a day earlier.

The British driver's death plunged the sport into mourning and triggered calls for a review of safety measures in IndyCar.

It was the first fatality in IndyCar since the 2011 accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar Series champion and a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

US auto racing legend Eddie Cheever said Wilson's death should lead to a thorough analysis of safety measures in the sport, while acknowledging the freak nature of Sunday's accident.

 

"Safety is not one of those things that because you have a clear record for a certain amount of time that you stop doing development," Cheever, now an IndyCar analyst for ESPN, told the network's SportsCenter programme.

"I think that it is time that solutions are looked for and I think it is time that the drivers got together and came up with a few ideas and I sincerely hope that some progress will be made on this issue.

"Safety is a continuous project, and in the past, IndyCar has done a very good job of doing it. But this is something they are going to have to focus on more than they have done in the past."

The accident that claimed Wilson's life bore similarities to other recent incidents.

In 2009, Felipe Massa was forced to undergo surgery after a flying spring smashed into his helmet. The Brazilian made a full recovery.

Last year, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe suffered a concussion after being struck on the helmet by debris.