Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he will donate his brain for concussion research, becoming the biggest name in NASCAR to follow athletes in other sports who have decided to assist in the study of brain trauma after their deaths.
Earnhardt, 41, revealed his intentions while responding to a Sports Illustrated tweet and responses to three Oakland Raiders deciding to donate their brains after finding out that Raider legend Ken Stabler's brain had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, reported the Washington Post
CTE, is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head, stated Boston University's CTE Center
The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia, noted Boston University.
"It's a major announcement, because Earnhardt is NASCAR's most popular driver – and has been the past 13 years," said the Sporting News
. "In 2002, Earnhardt got a concussion in the Fontana race in April but did not disclose the injury until September while continuing to race."
"Ten years later, Earnhardt had two concussions in six weeks, one he self-diagnosed at a tire test in Kansas and another after a big crash at Talladega."
NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Fred Lorenzen was diagnosed with dementia and memory loss in 2009, said the Post. The sport has improved its safety standards over the years to better protect drivers from head injuries, noted the newspaper.
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