Earn­hardt cleared to race again af­ter con­cus­sion

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS -

CON­CORD, N.C. | NASCAR star Dale Earn­hardt Jr., who missed the fi­nal 18 races of last sea­son be­cause of a con­cus­sion, has been med­i­cally cleared to re­turn next year.

Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports an­nounced Thurs­day that Earn­hardt will take part in the sea­son-open­ing Day­tona 500 on Feb. 26.

Dr. Micky Collins, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the UPMC Sports Medicine Con­cus­sion Pro­gram in Pitts­burgh, in con­sul­ta­tion with Char­lotte neu­ro­sur­geon Dr. Jerry Petty, cleared the 42-year-old driver Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a test ses­sion at Dar­ling­ton Race­way in South Carolina. Petty at­tended the ses­sion.

Earn­hardt com­pleted 185 laps dur­ing a nearly five-hour ses­sion at Dar­ling­ton un­der the guid­ance of his Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports crew chief, Greg Ives. In ad­di­tion to the on-track test, which was ob­served by NASCAR, the driver has logged more than 15 hours in a racing sim­u­la­tor dur­ing his re­cov­ery.

Earn­hardt said he would do more test­ing in Jan­uary “to help knock the rust off” ahead of the sea­son-open­ing race he has won twice.

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