There is no doubt about it whether it is football, soccer, wrestling, cheerleading, tennis or race cars, athletes love their sport. Therefore, the last thing they want to do is sit out of a game, match, competition, or race. It is a hard but necessary step in recovering from a concussion and preventing second-impact syndrome.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is learning this first hand. In late August he had his 1st concussion from a crash on a raceway in Kansas. He thought he was okay. He felt good, but on October 7th, he sustained another concussion from another, less severe crash. His symptoms returned. He saw his doctor for a headache that would not go away. Dr. Perry made the right decision and would not allow him to race last weekend or in the race this weekend either. Perry wanted Earnhardt, Jr. to be evaluted by professionals, and Earnhardt, Jr. is lucky to have such a proactive team. They spent Tuesday at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program consulting with Dr. Micky Collins, a concussion specialist, formulating a return to play that included ImPACT testing before returning to the raceway.
Earnhardt talks about needing someone else (his doctors) to make the decision for him not to race because the love of racing would keep him behind the wheel even though he knows that concussions are serious. Our athletes are no different. As parents and coaches, we owe it to our athletes to be that “voice of reason” when we suspect a concussion. From the moment we even think our athlete has sustained a concussion, they must SIT IT OUT! Even though it is hard, we must be proactive in protecting our brain…we only have one for life.