Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Why Earnhardt Jr. quit
Dale Earnhardt Jr. left car racing for the same reason some football players quit their sport, said Liz Clarke in The Washington Post. After 18 years of high-speed crashes that resulted in numerous concussions, Earnhardt was left with debilitating symptoms of brain trauma that he hid for a long time. “If you take a few days to get help, somebody could come in and easily replace you,” says Earnhardt, 44. Yet it became impossible to tough it out, and he was forced to retire from NASCAR last November. “When you have a concussion, one of the symptoms is anxiety,” he says. “Imagine having the normal amount of anxieties and that being multiplied by 10, 20.” His vision became unfocused; his eyes, he says, “didn’t seem to work together as a team.” At times, he was overcome with “violent shaking.” After receiving treatment, he began to feel better, but the symptoms returned two years later. Earnhardt—whose father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., died in a crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001—decided it was time to walk away. “When you’re living with symptoms every minute of the day, you forget about racing. That’s what made retiring so easy. I love racing, but it’s not who I am; it’s what I did.”