Many were surprised last month when NASCAR favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr., announced his departure from racing at the end of this year’s season. Why did he walk away, and why should safety professionals take note?
Travis Vance, an attorney with the employment law firm Fisher Phillips, asks why Earnhardt retired from racing at the height of his career. In 2016, despite injuries that plagued him for most of the season, he earned $23 million, more than any other driver. “So, why walk away from
the sport now, at this young age, when he’s on top of NASCAR? The answer is s simple: workplace safety,” Vance concludes.
At a press conference announcing his decision, Earnhardt said that concussions, including one suffered during the 2016 season, led to his decision to hand up his helmet. The driver was concerned that a future injury may end his career, but could permanently impact his health. His father, the racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr., died during the 2001 Daytona 500.
Vance says there are lessons for safety professionals in Earnhardt’s abrupt decision to retire. Among those:
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