Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent more than two decades behind the wheel on the NASCAR track. His career featured his fair share of scary incidents resulting in concussions. Earnhardt Jr.‘s experience with that has fueled a deep-rooted fear regarding his future.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s long history with concussions
Earnhardt Jr. went through much of his NASCAR career shrugging off concerns regarding head injuries.
All that boiled over to suffering significant concussion-like symptoms in 2016 forced him to end his season prematurely. Earnhardt Jr. required several months to recover fully, but those issues contributed to his retirement after the 2017 campaign.
Since then, he’s become an open book with his life, especially detailing his difficulties with concussions. Earnhardt Jr. has admitted that he’s experienced north of 20 concussions over his career.
His previous health problems have spawned a lingering fear about his future.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits he fears a scary truth that may lie ahead
Earnhardt Jr.’s long history with concussions has created a lingering fear in his life.
The 46-year-old has embraced the entire situation, but it’s hard not to ponder what may lie ahead. During a recent interview on I Am Athlete, Earnhardt Jr. voiced that he can’t help but worry about whether his concussion will impact his mental decline as he ages.
“I am very much worried about what 20 years from now looks for me,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We hear the stories about what other people have dealt with CTE and had some bad things happen to them. They find themselves in places that they can’t escape.
They can’t fix it, and so I’m definitely nervous about how sharp will I be. Am I going to have this mental decline that’s going to be a little accelerated? All of us are going to have a decline of some sort, but will mine be accelerated?”
He added that his declining eyesight heightened his fear as his optometrist told him it came quicker due to his head injuries. All that has only ramped up his attentiveness to taking care of himself both mentally and physically.
“I know if I want the best sharpness and best possible outcome, it’s in my hands,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “There are things that I can do [such as] ride my bike, my mental health, and my physical health. If I don’t take care of that, I’m absolutely going to have problems. I’m not going to be mentally sharp.”
Whatever path lies before Earnhardt Jr., he’s doing what he can to keep himself in the best state with his mind and body.
Remains a prominent advocate for concussion awareness
Since publicly acknowledging his struggles with concussions, Earnhardt Jr. has fully embraced being a vocal branch.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner wrote a book detailing his health issues during the 2016 season. He’s also spoken repeatedly about mental and physical wellness in various interviews and his Dale Jr. Download podcast.
Earnhardt Jr. even voiced that he will donate his brain to science for research. His involvement has shed greater light on the importance of health and awareness toward concussions. He’s been one of the most prominent sports figures discussing the matter.
Only in the last several years has that conversation ramped up after discovering Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). As long as Earnhardt Jr. can remain a prominent figure, he will be outspoken.