Joey Logano has plenty of experience in the NASCAR Cup Series. The 10-year NASCAR vet is still in his prime. But last year Logano received a surprising diagnosis that’ll affect him for the rest of his life.
The talented driver’s diagnosis was jarring news, but the way he’s handled it may surprise you. Logano hasn’t let it change his outlook on racing or life. Let’s look at his diagnosis and other athletes who suffer from the same condition.
Joey Logano’s surprising diagnosis
According to Auto Racing Daily, at the age of 29 Logano was diagnosed with alopecia areata. While the disease isn’t dangerous or life-threatening, it does affect a person’s hair follicles, causing hair loss. Logano got a haircut and afterward, his wife noticed patches of hair missing. When the hair never grew back, Logano went to the doctor’s office and got his diagnosis.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that mainly affects people prior to the age of 30. There’s no cure, but many people do undergo a full recovery. It affects a reported 6.8 million people nationwide.
Logano had to be caught off guard by the diagnosis he received, as no one expect this kind of thing to befall them. So how did Logano handle the news? Probably better than you might expect.
How Logano handles alopecia diagnosis
To raise awareness for the disease, Logano chose not to shave his head. He also took the news in stride with a good sense of humor.
In an NBC Sports piece on Logano’s new sunglasses he wore on the track, Logano commented on both his new eyewear and new look on his scalp: “Now I have some glasses I have that to go with my awesome hairline … It is happening guys, it is happening.”
For Logano to have something as traumatic as hair loss after a haircut happen to him, he’s handled it with a lot of grace. But is he the only professional athlete dealing with alopecia? Not by a long shot.
Other athletes with alopecia
There are millions of people affected by alopecia, and Logano certainly isn’t the only athlete who’s experienced the disease. For example, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Joshua Dobbs has alopecia. He met with a former athlete who also had the condition to receive counsel on how to live with it:
“About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with former Dallas Mavericks star Charlie Villanueva … His core message, which I try to share, resonated with me: ‘I have alopecia. Alopecia doesn’t have me.'”
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is another athlete with alopecia. He gave advice for others who have it in the Players’ Tribune:
“That’s my message to people I meet with alopecia who really struggle with it, and who won’t go anywhere without a hat. I know how tough it is. But I look at it this way — if your hair magically grows back tomorrow, it’s not going to change who you are as a person, or what you’re capable of, or who loves you.”
Obviously, it’s not a life-threatening disease. But hair loss can be traumatic for anyone. The lesson that Logano, Dobbs, Villanueva, and Shazier impart to those who also have the condition is that you can’t let it change you. It doesn’t define who you are. That’s fine advice for anyone.