12 October 2012
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about concussion
"We've patterned our rules [here in NASCAR] after the NFL to a degree," he said. "We would do the same procedure about giving them five or six days without a headache and then doing provocative tests. I don't think that, so far as I know, they're not allowed to go back any earlier than some of the NFL guys are allowed to go back."
Earnhardt's car owner Rick Hendrick was fully supportive of the way that Earnhardt had handled the situation this week.
"I think that's one thing everybody admires about Dale is how honest and up front he is," he said. "He cares a lot about the team, his fans, and the sport in general. But when he knew that there was something not right, he went to see Dr Petty here, and I admire him.
"The good news is this is kind of preventative maintenance not to take a chance and there's no damage," Hendrick added. "We were so happy yesterday that the MRI was completely normal, no damage. We don't have a problem there."
Earnhardt added that he was feeling otherwise fine, and would dearly love to race this weekend. He said there was no question that the two-week benching could end up stretching through to the end of the season in November.
"I'd like to get back in the car and compete as soon as I can, as soon as the doctors feel like I'm able to do that," he said. "I would love to race this weekend, and I feel perfectly normal and feel like I could compete if I were allowed to compete this weekend. But I think that the basis of this whole deal is that I've had two concussions in the last four to five weeks, and you can't layer concussions. It gets extremely dangerous."
As for this weekend, Earnhardt said that he had no intention hanging around Charlotte and getting in the way feeling like a spare wheel.
"Yeah, I don't have any plans of being here this weekend," he said. "I think that I'd be more of a distraction to the team and their efforts in the race. I think they've got a good opportunity to have a good run this weekend, and I feel like minimising the distraction would help them out.
"I'm really going to feel pretty odd not being in the car. I'm anxious, real, real anxious just to get back into the car," he admitted, wrapping up with: "I think you learn not to take things for granted, and I just hate that this has caused such a fuss."
Regan Smith will take over Earnhardt's seat for this weekend's race at Charlotte and next weekend's event at Kansas, after which Earnhardt hopes to return to action for the last four races of the 2012 season.
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