Athletes missing the remainder of a season due to concussions seems more likely to happen in football, but even the sport of auto racing isn’t immune to the injuries.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Friday he will miss the rest of the NASCAR season as he continues to battle back from his own concussion symptoms and concerns.
“I wish I could return to the No. 88 team this season,” Earnhardt said in a released statement. “To say I’m disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel, but I know this is the right thing for my long-term health and career. I’m 100% focused on my recovery, and I will continue to follow everything the doctors tell me. They’re seeing good progress in my test results, and I’m feeling that progress physically.”
Eanhardt still has his focus set on returning to the track in the future, however, and he has set Daytona as his goal. Of course, Hendrick Motorsports wants him to return when he is best suited to buckle back in for an extended period of time, rather than one individual race.
“I plan to be healthy and ready to compete at Daytona in February,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’m working toward that.”
While Earnhardt Jr. sits out the rest of the season, his No. 88 car will continue to circle NASCAR tracks. Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman will continue to split races behind the wheel of Earnhardt’s signature car. The two have been doing so since Earnhardt Jr. stepped back from racing to deal with concussion symptoms in July. Earnhardt Jr. is believed to have suffered a concussion in an accident in June at Michigan International Speedway, but the symptoms did not affect him until weeks later. He also has a history of concussions, with three separate incidents prior to this most recent concern.