Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion: Why The NASCAR Star Hasn’t ‘Put A Lot Of Thought Into The Future’ Of His Career
Dale Earnhardt Jr. opened up about his season-ending concussion and extensive recovery period on Sunday.
According to U.S. News, Earnhardt shared his thoughts on the situation at Darlington Raceway two days after Hendrick Motorsports announced the unexpected ending of his season due to the injury. The report states that the longtime NASCAR star is continuing “recovery from concussion-like symptoms” after experiencing a major crash in Michigan earlier this year.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 4, 2016
Earnhardt reportedly hopes that he gets the green light from his doctors to return to his longtime passion and profession in time for the upcoming Daytona 500 race in February. While he is focused on recovering and following the doctor’s orders at this time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. also stated that he has not been contemplating his future very much lately.
“I haven’t put a lot of thought into the future until I get well. My heart wants me to continue and be working with the guys I got.”
Even though many NASCAR fans and critics have expressed the thought that Earnhardt should use this injury as an opportunity to officially retire, Earnhardt essentially stated that retirement is not in the forecast. The 41-year-old driver made it clear that he still yearns to continue his career exactly where he left off before the crash.
“I have the passion and desire to drive. My heart is there to continue and if my doctor says I can continue, that’s an easier decision for me to make… I’m only 41. I’ve got some good years left. I think I’m as good as I’ve been inside the car. I feel like I’m still an asset to the team and to the company.”
According to Dr. Micky Collins, a medical director at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Concussion Program, confirmed that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had a positive response to treatments during his recovery period.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is speaking along with car owner Rick Hendrick and Dr. Micky Collins. pic.twitter.com/gLw51yGAPF
— Reggie Anderson (@ReggieWLTX) September 4, 2016
In his own words, Collins further stated that he is “positive that we are going to get Dale back to being a race car driver” and is “very excited about that prospect.” Collins is very familiar with Dale’s medical history in this regard since he was the one who treated the son of a NASCAR legend after a past concussion nearly four years ago.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. credits trip to Pittsburgh doctors with alleviating anxiety & daily calls to Dr. Micky Collins as good therapy. #nascar
— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) October 26, 2012
— FOX News Radio (@foxnewsradio) September 2, 2016
Very proud and honored to call @DaleJr one of my best friends. He raises the bar when it comes to being a great role model and leader.
— tj majors (@Tjmajors) September 2, 2016
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dr. Collins both confirmed that Dale’s mood, anxiety, vision, and balance have all improved since Dale was first diagnosed after the crash earlier this summer. Dale has been able to perform a number of routine activities associated with typical daily living without very many complications or hiccups along the way. He has even attended sponsor functions during his time away from the track, another sign of progress which he admits gives him “the confidence this is going in the right direction.”
Whether or not Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the NASCAR track in time for Daytona 500 next year is yet to be seen. More importantly, it is good to know that he is progressively recovering from his injury.
[Photo by Blaine Ohigashi/Getty Images]