Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed Saturday that he will donate his brain for concussion research.
The 41-year old Earnhardt is no stranger to concussions, having sustained two in a six-week span during a 2012 tire test at Kansas Speedway, followed by a major crash at Talladega Superspeedway that sidelined him from competition for two weeks in the postseason Chase. He also sustained a concussion at Auto Club Speedway in 2002, but continued to race without disclosing the injury.
Earnhardt has shown no ill effects from his concussions, but in light of recent revelations surrounding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in athletes involved in high-impact sports, Earnhardt says he will donate his brain for post-mortem examination.
What use is it to you at that point? I'm gonna donate mine. What use is it to you at that point? I'm gonna donate mine. What use is it to you at that point? I'm gonna donate mine.”What use is it to you at that point?” he wrote via Twitter. “I’m donating mine. I’m donating everything, one way or another.”
Last week, former Oakland Raiders George Atkinson, George Buehler and Art Thoms announced that they would also donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in honor of Hall Of Fame teammate, Ken Stabler, whose autopsy showed evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
CTE – which can cause memory loss, depression, mood swings and issues with anger-management -- can only be diagnosed posthumously. Research into the possible link between concussions and degenerative brain diseases like CTE is still in its infancy.