By: Allan M. Siegel
Earlier this month, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed he was still
recovering from concussion symptoms experienced as a result of a crash
in early June. The lengthy recovery is new for Earnhardt, who has suffered
previous concussions and head injuries during his career, and it has prompted
the driver to not only question his future, but also raise awareness about
traumatic brain injuries.
During a recent interview, Earnhardt touches on some key issues about concussions,
their symptoms, and their unpredictable nature.
According to Earnhardt,
he initially felt fine for several weeks following the crash. It wasn’t until 14 days after the wreck that he began experiencing
symptoms involving balance, vision, and nausea. This is common among concussion
sufferers, and a reason why many feel it is ok to resume normal activity
or return to their sport prematurely.
Earnhardt reported that unlike issues he experienced with other concussions,
the symptoms related to the most recent head injury started gradually
and slowly progressed until they remained at a consistent level. He commented on how
concussions can have different symptoms and different lengths of recovery.
- Because the symptoms experienced by Earnhardt are so different than those
of previous concussions, he is more concerned – particularly by
symptoms affecting his balance and vision, and the lack of change or improvement
in recent weeks.
- As part of his recovery, doctors are advising Earnhardt to expose himself
to stimulus that may cause his symptoms, including places with a lot of
visual and auditory action, such as restaurants or grocery stores where
many people are present.
Earnhardt has not yet returned to racing, and though many are questioning
when and if he will return to the track, he maintains he has no plans
to retire and wishes to return when cleared by doctors. In the meantime,
he is helping raise awareness about concussions and their unpredictable
nature, especially among athletes. In fact, he announced earlier this
year that he will be donating his brain for chronic traumatic encephalopathy
(CTE) research. CTE is a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated
brain injury. The NFL announced a link between
head trauma and CTE among athletes earlier this year.
Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has been
named Preferred Attorneys for the DC Metro area by the Brain Injury Association
of America. If you have questions about your legal rights following a
concussion or other preventable brain injury,
contact our firm for a free consultation.