Junior says he supports concussion testing
October 25, 2013, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke out about concussion baseline testing Friday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, one day after a meeting on the topic among drivers in NASCAR's three national series at the sanctioning body's research and development center in Concord, N.C.
Earnhardt, who missed two races at the end of the 2012 season with post-concussive symptoms after a multicar wreck at Talladega Superspeedway, said he was encouraged by the progress of the meeting and hopes drivers will support any potential NASCAR policy to establish baseline testing for its participants.
"It's just valuable information," said Earnhardt Jr., who also announced a sponsorship extension for National Guard on his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet through the 2014 season. "If you care about your well-being, your health and your quality of life, it's a smart move to embrace."
Earnhardt became more familiar with the rigors of neurological testing after his crash last season forced him to the sidelines. Friday, he said that no two people have the same baseline and that all concussions "are like snowflakes," all unique.
He sounded off on the potential for any resistance to the possible change.
"I don't understand any concerns. Going through what I went through, I don't understand that," Earnhardt said. "You have to go through the test and know how the test is scored and how you are evaluated in the re-test. It's not two plus two equals four, but well, you chose three, you're out. There's no right or wrong answers. It's a test that gives you an image of how someone thinks, how quickly they make decisions, how they rationale, it's not really a test of what's the capital of North Carolina. There's not a grade."
He added: "I don't feel more worried about getting a concussion and being held out than I did before. It's kind of frustrating, but I think if everybody gets a year down the road and understands how the test works, especially when all the drivers are forced to take it, it's no sweat and I don't think they're going to be too worried about it."