Over the last few years, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has openly discussed his struggles with concussions throughout his NASCAR career. Earnhardt Jr. battled through health issues in 2016 that forced him to step away from behind the wheel. Before he reached that point, he left his wife Amy in the dark about his personal problems and holds no regrets concerning with that decision.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled with concussions during NASCAR career
Throughout much of Dale Earnhardt’s NASCAR career, he suffered in silence dealing with concussion issues.
Earnhardt Jr. shuffled ahead without any concern toward the long-term effect of his health. He continued to race each week despite suffering lingering problems.
All that came to a head in 2016 as he began to experience intense concussion-like symptoms that included blurry vision, trouble with balance, and nausea. It forced him to sit out the bulk of the 2016 season, putting Jeff Gordon in his place to finish out the year.
It took Earnhardt Jr. several months before his health issues subsided. During those rough times, he shared that he took secret notes documenting the daily struggles that he gave to his doctor. That stretch of his life featured plenty of difficult times that tested him mentally.
However, before all that came about publicly, Earnhardt Jr. dealt with it in silence without his wife Amy’s knowledge.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t regret leaving his wife in the dark about his concussion issues
As Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled through concussion issues, he did it in silence without anybody knowing.
Earnhardt Jr. left everyone uninformed about his health struggles as he kept the internal battle away, even from his wife. During an interview on HBO’s Real Sports in September 2018, he voiced he had zero regrets keeping the situation from his wife Amy.
“I don’t regret not telling my wife,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I don’t. I should have got my ass to my doctor.”
It’s something that he likely wanted to avoid her worrying about his health. Instead, he feels regret for not telling his doctor sooner as he went through years of dealing with symptoms that were never appropriately treated.
In the same interview with HBO, his wife voiced she initially felt frustrated that Earnhardt Jr. didn’t tell her but was more concerned about his overall well-being.
“When he was honest with me about it, I was angry,” Amy Earnhardt said. “But I didn’t show that as much as my concern. That was really more important and how we fix this and move on.”
Although it’s something that Earnhardt Jr. kept from his wife in the dark, he has embraced everything that has come since then.
Fully embraces concussion awareness in NASCAR
Following the decision to come forward about his struggles with his health, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has become an open book about his life.
Earnhardt Jr. has written a book about his concussion issues while advocating for increased safety for professional athletes. He has also agreed to donate his brain for concussion research to garner a better scientific understanding.
Since going public with his health problems, the two-time Daytona 500 winner has held various interviews discussing concussions. He has also talked about it on his weekly podcast, Dale Jr. Download, in several instances.
His advocacy for NASCAR safety has helped create a more significant push toward increased guidelines and protocols. Beyond that, his presence around the sport has brought a brighter spotlight on the importance toward a serious matter.