Dale Jr. Reflects on Concussion Recovery
On April 2nd one of NASCAR's most celebrated drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke to fans about returning to the NASCAR Cup Series following yet another concussion. When asked about the return Earnhardt said, "I certainly am more aware, whether I want to be or not, of how dangerous it is. But going through the injury yourself really puts it into perspective what's important."
The 42-year-old driver lost his father to racing in 2001. Over the years NASCAR has begun taking concussions more seriously. In the past doctors were only brought to the infield if the driver couldn't drive the car back to the garage themselves. Today the infield care center gives every driver a SCAT test administered by a neurosurgeon after an accident. The new rules state that anyone involved in an accident, no matter how minimal or severe, must visit the infield care center for this treatment.
When asked about the improvements NASCAR has made, Dale Jr. had this to say "You can never be safe enough. I mean, we've learned a lot of things in the past 20 years, made a lot of updates to the race tracks. Soft walls on all the race tracks is mandatory now. You wish you could have had that many years before we had the technology to do it, and understood how critical it was in reducing the G-forces of impacts and so forth — making drivers safer. We've improved the interior of the cars as well. We've improved the headrest and all that. We have the HANS device and everything else to keep us safe."
More professional sports than ever before are taking player injuries seriously. The changes found in NASCAR are expected to dramatically improve the safety of the drivers. This commitment to safety is reflected in other organizations such as the NFL, NHL, and others. All in all we're ecstatic to see Dale Jr. back on the track and look forward to an thrilling racing season.