Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s issues with his health are well documented over the last few years. The former NASCAR star driver has experienced a rocky road that has tested him physically directly connected to his many concussions. With that in mind, Earnhardt Jr. can’t avoid thinking about his lingering biggest fear.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s troubles with concussions
Throughout Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s nearly two decades in his racing career, he mostly suffered in private with head injuries.
Earnhardt Jr. experienced a few notable crashes that created some significant concern, but there wasn’t any indication of lasting impact. He didn’t start to deal with physical symptoms until near the end of his career.
His difficulties with concussions led him down the path to his biggest fear in his life long after his racing days.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. can’t avoid thinking about his biggest fear
Since stepping into retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has become an open-book about his struggles with his health.
Earnhardt Jr. has discussed at length well beyond his book concerning his difficulties with physical symptoms from his concussions over the years. Over the years, these lingering issues have created some internal fright that he stated in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger in September 2018 that he believes could have a long-term effect.
“I’m real concerned about what this means for me as I get older. Am I going to have issues with my memory. Is my personality going to affected? Is it already affected and I’m not aware of it? I worry about that and I read a lot of articles about all athletes that deal with that stuff. Or athletes that are old and retired and are dealing with it and seeing changes in themselves.
“I can’t stop myself from reading about other people’s experiences. I will always be curious what people are dealing with that had concussions. I want to be equipped with knowledge.”
These issues have arisen from time to time that only reasonably generate fear about his long-term future. Earnhardt Jr. described the 2016 symptoms coming about like a cold or flu. There was no precursor such as a head injury from a car crash, but instead unexpected physical toll.
Although Earnhardt is keeping those thoughts away as much as possible, it’s hard to ignore in his mind about what could lie ahead.
NASCAR can only improve health protocols
The personal issues that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had with his health at the very last provide much-needed attention to the matter.
Concussions are a problem that all professional sports deal with that has heavily impacted many professional athletes well into retirement. NASCAR is no different, as many other drivers likely share the same experiences that Earnhardt Jr. has and is continuing to go through.
If anything, his story is a chance for other drivers to come forward to shed more light on the situation. It can do nothing but help NASCAR further hone in on improving their health measures and protocols.
The sport has come a long way since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001 to provide more safety parameters. It’s still far from a perfect setup with the precautions NASCAR has taken, but it has improved over the years.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be at the forefront of that as he remains heavily involved with NASCAR. His story and presence is one that will only push things in the right direction.