12 October 2012
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about concussion
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has spoken to the media about the two big hits he's received in the last six weeks, which have led to him being ruled out of the next two Cup races with concussion.
"I guess I'll just start out with where this all kind of began," said NASCAR's most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., at the start of the press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway following the shock announcement that he wouldn't be competing in this weekend's race because he was suffering from concussion.
Earnhardt's current condition stems from being caught up in the last-lap accident last Sunday at accident that swept up 25 cars into one of the biggest wrecks the series has seen in recent times. But he admitted that the problem actually goes back rather further than that.
"We had a test at Kansas about five weeks ago," he said. "We blew a right front tyre going into turn 1, and I remember everything about that accident and everything after that accident, but I knew that I didn't feel ... You know your body, and you know how your mind works, and I knew something was just not quite right."
However, Earnhardt hadn't sought medical advice after the accident because it would have meant the end of his Chase prospects before they'd even got underway.
"I decided to just try to push through and work through it - I'd had concussions before and knew exactly kind of what I was dealing with," he said. And sure enough, he was soon feeling on the mend - although he admitted that he'd participated in several races feeling distinctly underpar.
"I felt pretty good after a week or two and definitely 80, 90 per cent by the time the Chase started, and by the time we got to Talladega I felt 100 per cent - felt really good," he said. "And then the accident at the end of that race ...
"I was hit in the left rear quarterpanel, and it was sort of an odd kind of a collision where the car spun around really quick and just sort of disoriented me, and I knew that I had sort of regressed and had a bit of a setback, and knew," he said.
Earnhardt had appeared to escape relatively lightly from the Talladega wreck, even stopping to pick up his team mate Jimmie Johnson who needed a lift back to pit lane after the #48 was heavily damaged.
"Again, you know how your body is and you know when something is not quite right, and I knew as soon as it happened that I had reinjured myself, for lack of a better way to describe it. It was not even half of the impact that I had at Kansas, but it was enough to cause me some concern.
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