In the year leading approximately his retirement, and certainly in the months afterward, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has end up being something the an advocate for much better understanding concussions because that athletes.
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The 43-year-old has already pledged come donate his brain to science after his death and also has been very candid around his experiences dealing with head trauma transparent his career.
So it pertains to no surprise that NASCAR’s most popular modern driver would resolve the object in his upcoming biography and the media blitz the accompanied it.
In a collection of YouTube interviews with sports reporter Graham Bensinger, Earnhardt speculated that he kept at the very least 20 concussions indigenous NASCAR end his 20-year career and also simply drove with them. Earnhardt was very first sidelined because of concussions in 2012, adhering to a 25-car crash in ~ Talladega Superspeedway.
He let go the second half of the 2016 season with an additional bout.
But this was far from the very first two times the Earnhardt believes he likely should have actually been sat down and prevented from transforming laps on the track.
"Your brain is her computer, and people don’t have the faith in that healing like a damaged bone," Earnhardt said in the interview conducted at his north Carolina home. "This is in the previous where men have had head injuries, and also visually, you can see that it’s affected them permanently. Therefore if you go to somebody and also go, "Man, you know I rung mine bell, and also I’m genuine messed up, and I’m gonna take it a break and I’m gonna come back 100 percent," you understand that person"s always gonna have that in the back of their mind.
"And when you don’t operation a good race, space they gonna go, "Hmm, i wonder if he’s simply not the same anymore"? friend know? I’ve heard the talk about other drivers. Also guys the don’t have actually any history of concussions, I’ve heard world say, "You understand he did have a lot of hard wrecks.""
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WATCH THE full EARNHARDT INTERVIEW HERE
And through it all, Earnhardt had a fear of dying, covertly recording his symptom on his phone -- wanting a public record to be available just in instance something taken place to him.
"I felt compromised in mine head," that said. "I feel delicate. And if ns was to have an additional random, rare, high-impact crash that can injure me severely -- so severely that ns wouldn’t have the ability to communicate appropriately … I wanted there to be some kind of documentation that what had been happening to me and what I’d to be going through."
Even though Earnhardt trust he suffered over 20 concussions throughout his career, he pinpoints simply one that he completely suspects finished his career.
He experienced through a trial and error crash at Kansas Speedway in 2012. He believes the impact from hitting the wall surface made him an ext susceptible to further damages after the incident.
"I remember reasoning as ns was heading toward that fence, "This is walk to be an insane, insane impact,"" Earnhardt recalled. "And ns hit the wall surface at 190 miles an hour and my head is right versus that headrest and also it’s together stiff as a role bar, and also so mine head didn’t walk anywhere and also everything within of it entered high-speed movement, and my mind just compacts versus the within of my skull at an incredible force …
"There’s not any situation the I deserve to think of the would an outcome in a harder influence in racing. And if it doesn’t take place to me, I probably don’t cut my job short. I’m most likely still driving race cars today. However that destructive made that easier, i think, because that me to obtain concussions past that instance."
Earnhardt will return to NASCAR in an Xfinity series one-off later this month in ~ Richmond Raceway in Virginia, his just planned stock auto race because his retirement. That hasn’t decided if he will certainly make added appearances next season.
He is a full-time shade analyst through NBC Sports, acquisition up the majority of his experienced time. He and wife, Amy, welcomed their an initial child, daughter Isla rose Earnhardt back in May.
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"Every time ns look at Isla, I desire to cry," he claimed days after she birth. "Every time ns look at Amy and her with each other -- as soon as Amy’s holding she or feeding she -- I simply can’t believe this is in my life."
The book was co-written through Ryan McGee and titled “Racing come The Finish: mine Story,” and also will be exit on Oct. 6. The complete interview through Bensinger will air this weekend in syndication.