The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Al Unser Jr.'s Daughter Hospitalized; Unser to Miss IROC Race

11 February 1999

Editor's Note: It was announced in Daytona this week that NASCAR 
Winston Cup Driver Bobby Labonte will drive in Friday's IROC Race at 
Daytona, taking the place of Al Unser, Jr.  The substitution was made because 
Unser's daughter has become ill.  The following press release from AUJ
Motorsports, INC. explains the situation.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 10, 1999.

Albuquerque, NM - Cody Michelle Unser, 12 year old daughter of Shelley and
Al Unser Jr., became ill on Friday, February 5, 1999 and has been
hospitalized in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cody's condition is being evaluated by Dr. Edward C. Benzel, Professor and
Chief, Division of Neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico Health
Science Center and Dr. Douglas Barret, a neurologist with Presbyterian Hospital in

According to Dr. Benzel, "Cody Unser has a rare condition called
transverse myelitis which has caused paralysis of her legs. Transverse myelitis is
itself non-specific, but alludes to the fact that a part of the spinal cord is
involved (transverse) and there is "presumed" inflammation of the spinal
cord (myelitis). The precise cause of transverse myelitis is infrequently
identified.  A history of a previous viral illness such as a common cold
suggests a viral cause in some cases (this may be the case with Miss

Miss Unser is currently undergoing further diagnostic studies.  Her
current condition is stable. Recovery is cautiously accepted and can be seen
within two weeks or after a year or more. A rehabilitation program is currently
being planned for Miss Unser. This program will most likely begin within a

Arrangements are being made for Cody Unser to be transferred to a
rehabilitation facility in Albuquerque in the next week to further monitor
her progress.