Report: Earnhardt visits Pittsburgh concussion experts

The SportsXchange

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed last week's NASCAR Sprint Cup race after sustaining two concussions in a six-week span, visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday to consult with a concussion expert, according to NASCAR.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Earnhardt, accompanied by Charlotte-based neurosurgeon Jerry Petty, went to see Dr. Micky Collins, head of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Results of the meeting weren't immediately known.

Earnhardt will miss this week's race at Kansas Speedway after sitting out Saturday's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. According to the Tribune-Review, Petty said Earnhardt could be cleared to return to action for the Oct. 28 race at Martinsville (Va.) if he is headache-free for four or five days.

Collins is frequently sought as a consultant for pro athletes dealing with head injuries. He was one of the co-creators of the ImPACT test widely used to evaluate concussions.

Earnhardt recently said his first concussion occurred Aug. 29 while on a test run at Kansas. His second concussion led to headaches following a 25-car pileup at Talladega on Oct. 7.

Due in part to his injury absence Saturday, Earnhardt stands last among the 12 drivers competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He has had one race win, one pole, 10 top-five finishes and 18 top-10 finishes in 30 starts this season.

The missed race at Charlotte ended Earnhardt's streak of 461 consecutive starts in NASCAR's top series.

Earnhardt's stop in Pittsburgh included a stop at the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice facility and lunch with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, according to the Tribune-Review.
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