Dale Earnhardt Jr. says decision to donate brain was an simple one

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 0:18 AM

-- Already a pledged organ donor,  Dale Earnhardt Jr. said reading stories about women'south soccer player Brandi Chastain and former  Oakland Raiders players pledging their brains for research inspired him to chase suit.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. says decision to donate brain was an simple one

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Already a pledged organ donor,  Dale Earnhardt Jr. said reading stories about women'south soccer player Brandi Chastain and former  Oakland Raiders players pledging their brains for research inspired him to follow suit.

"I was a donor already for many years ... and so it seemed love a reasonable thing to do for me," Earnhardt said Friday of his decision. "Anything I can do to assistance others. Hopefully the science has advanced distant beyond what it's today and they don't need it.

"It was something I didn't have to ask myself whether I wanted to do it or not."

After retweeting a legend on Saturday about three former Raiders pledging to donate their brains in honor of former quarterback Ken Stabler, Earnhardt began to research just how he'd go about donating his brain. Stabler died in July and was found to have Stage three chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the sickness linked to repeated blows to the head.

Earnhardt, who made national news with the tweet about planning to donate his brain, has talked with people at the Concussion Heritage Foundation in partnership with Boston Univ about the process and hopes to visit the scientists there when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes in NH this summer.

"I just thought that was incredible that those guys did it in honor of their teammate, and I read where Brandi had done that maybe a mo ago," Earnhardt said. "That was really inspiring... I didn't expect it to turn into the legend it did, but if by all means, if it raises more awareness and inspires people to donate their brains and pledge their brains -- they don't necessity just athletes. They need everybody.

"I'm going to give up all the organs that are worth anything when it'south over with. So they can have it all."

The Hendrick Motorsports driver -- and arguably NASCAR'south most favorite driver the past thirteen years -- might be one of the more knowledgeable of his colleagues when it comes to concussions, as he missed two races in two thousand-twelfth after suffering two concussions over a two-month period.

The two concussions were different. Earnhardt'south first concussion, suffered in August two thousand twelve when he crashed into the wall after having a tire blow out during a KS test, was more of a typical concussion that caused him to be foggy. The following one, in Oct that year, happened when he was tagged and spun around quickly a few times, causing an injury around the brain stem. That concussion caused severe anxiety that spurred him to visit doctors and resulted in his lost two races.

Earnhardt spent time with Dr. Michael Collins at the Univ of Pittsburgh Medical Middle Sports Concussion Program. Collins developed the ImPACT neurological assessment tool that athletes get to define whether an they should return to action after a concussion.

"[The doctors] gave me the confidence going through that process that I could be successful and obtain through it, and I have," Earnhardt said. "I've been healthy and successful and learned a ton. I might be a better race car driver today."

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