HAPPY BIRTHDAY A.J.!!
HOUSTON January 16, 2016--A.J. Foyt turns 81 today.
"I never thought I would live this long. A lot of people never thought I would either."
As mesquite tough as the Texas land he grew up in, A.J. Foyt has suffered through death-defying accidents and overwhelming health problems the past 81 years. Take a look back at what he overcame to celebrate his birthday with his family, friends and many fans today.
Age 15 - Survived a boating accident in the Galveston Bay when a storm upended his boat, sadly only two of three teenagers survived.
Age 23 - First time he hit the wall in the Indy 500 when a water hose broke
Age 30 - His accident at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway saw him go end-over-end after his brakes failed. He was in critical condition with a bruised aorta, broken back and fractured heel.
Age 31 - He endured burns to his face, neck and hands when he hit the wall at Milwaukee during practice after a suspension failure.
Age 37 - He suffered burns to his back when his dirt car caught fire during a refueling stop. He broke his leg and ankle when he jumped from it and got run over by his own car.
Age 46 - His right arm was badly fractured when a tire failure sent his Indy car into the Armco barrier at Michigan.
Age 48 - He broke two vertebrae in his back after hitting the wall in his stock car at Daytona but won the Paul Revere 250 sports car race that night.
Age 55 - When his brakes failed at turn 1 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., he hit a dirt embankment, breaking his left knee and crushed his left heel, dislocating his left tibia and right heel and sustaining compartment syndrome in both feet. Came back eight months later to qualify second for the 1991 Indy 500.
Age 57 - Broke his left shoulder twice--first in qualifying for the Daytona 500 and then again while practicing for the Phoenix 200 Indycar race.
Age 69 - Suffered badly torn rotator cuff stepping off his trackhoe excavator.
Age 70 - Survived attack of killer bees which led to systemic shock.
Age 71 - Underwent knee replacement for his left leg
Age 72 - Escaped from drowning in his enclosed bulldozer when he overturned it into a lake on one of his ranches.
Age 77 - Contracted a nearly fatal staph infection after surgery to remove bone spurs around his artificial left knee.
Age 78 - Underwent back surgery in April, left hip replacement in July and a right knee replacement in December.
Age 79 - Underwent triple bypass surgery and nearly died after post-op complications.
Age 80 - Survived another serious bout of staph infection--this time in his right knee which needed to be replaced again.
So when we wish him Happy Birthday, we are really happy we can!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUPER TEX!!