Racing to the Finish by Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t just about racing, it is about learning when it is time to quit. Wanting to go out on your own terms is something that every competitor in every sport discipline can identify with. After years of physical punishment and concussions, it was time for Jr. to retire from his #88 ride at the end of his 2017 season, in this book, Dale explains why.
Concussions have long been a specter in motorsports, no amount of safer barriers and HANS devices can fully cushion the blow of an impact when you smack into the wall at 200+ mph. Dale goes over how his injuries have affected him throughout his racing career, experiencing concussion symptoms after a wreck, then shrugging them off to get into the car the next week. Concussions and the lack of understanding around them affect sports of all shapes and sizes and Dale Jr. does a phenomenal job of going over how the concussions presented themselves from within the car and in his personal life.
Dale also goes over the recovery process after his final concussion at Michigan International Speedway in 2016 and how he decided after that crash that, if he recovered, he would only race one more season in NASCAR. This story not only goes over Jr’s history of concussions but also goes over his drive to recover in those months leading up to his final season. A great insight into a legendary driver with a very personable voice. The narration feels like Dale is right there talking to you about his struggles. It truly is an insightful book that I recommend to anyone that is a fan of motorsports or sports in general. This book does a great job of bringing attention to the problem of concussions in sports and how little they are talked about or understood.
Concussion, starring Will Smith, is based on the true story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist, who is known for looking deeply into the autopsies he performs to learn more about why people died. Dr. Omalu wades through this dramatic thriller by making waves in the scientific community by discovering a brain injury that has the power to topple the NFL.
Running side-by-side with Omalu’s story is the story of several different NFL players experiencing trouble after their careers have ended. They display erratic behavior, aren’t themselves, and the people that they turn to for help seemingly have no idea what to do. When a pro football player shows up dead and Omalu has to do the autopsy, he discovers trauma that will change the NFL forever.
Dr. Omalu made the first discovery of CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have a history of repetitive brain damage. After paying for tests out of his own pocket for various football players, Omalu discovers that this traumatic brain injury is something that more football players will suffer from and that they should all be made aware of CTE. After publishing a paper with his findings, Omalu begins fighting for the concussion truth to be heard. He finds major pushback from both the NFL and the public with threatening phone calls to his house, visits from the FBI, and other doctors dismissing his findings among just some of the threats. The National Football League works to quiet Omalu’s findings, something that he simply cannot allow. This movie follows Omalu’s journey to make the NFL acknowledge CTE and the incredible uphill battle he faces to make the public believe his findings.
This movie is based on a book Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas.