Thinking of athletes who are likely to suffer from head injuries, you are probably going to think about football players and other contact sports. Your mind might not automatically think about race car drivers; however, these drivers face some very real risks when they get on the track.
Historically, race car drivers, in particular NASCAR drivers, put their health on the back burner in favor of trying to win every race. Back in the day, drivers had to complete in every race if they were going to receive appearance money that came with being eligible for the championship. The dream of being eligible and the promise of appearance money led some drivers to race even when they knew they shouldn’t.
After one driver knowingly raced with rib injuries and a concussion, NASCAR took a big step toward ensuring driver safety. Drivers who are in a serious crash would be required to have medical clearance before getting back behind the wheel of their car.
One factor that race car drivers are looking at now is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is associated with multiple concussions. Knowing the risks of concussions is what has led one very popular race car driver to sit out races. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. now has his third concussion from racing. Many retired drivers note that they are still dealing with the effects of brain injuries that they suffered in races.
This is one reason why anyone who suffers from a head injury should be vigilant about watching for signs of brain trauma. The long-lasting effects of brain injuries can be devastating. If your brain injury was because of an accident, you might choose to seek compensation for the injury.
Source: Jacksonville.com, “NASCAR drivers aware of brain injury risk,” Don Coble, July 20, 2016