Motorsports these days tends to be pretty safe, even if the danger of pushing a car or motorcycle to its absolute limit can never be entirely removed. Compared to the frequent deaths of the '60s and earlier, we live in good times, however, in just the last few years the topic of concussions has become among the hottest conversations in American sports, especially after the National Football League's $765 million settlement with ex-players last year. The next frontier for taking care of former competitors may be from NASCAR, if a former racer gets his way.
Geoff Bodine was a NASCAR driver with about 30 years of experience behind the wheel. He even won the 1986 Daytona 500. With his racing past behind him, now he's thinking about his fellow competitors. He told The New York Times that he can't even remember how many times he was knocked out in crashes anymore. "I would hit the outside wall and it would knock me out, then I'd bounce and hit the inside wall, and it would wake me up," he said to the paper. Some former drivers are much worse off, he claims.
While the sport has made safety strides since then, concussions still happen. One of NASCAR's most high-profile recent cases happened in 2012 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered two of the injuries in a season, one of them in a 25-car wreck during a race at Talladega. After the second crash, he admitted that he didn't report symptoms from the first out of fear of not being allowed to race and losing points.
Bodine isn't advocating for an NFL-style lawsuit against NASCAR. Instead, he wants to set up a fund to support injured, retired drivers, according to The New York Times. The sport doesn't have a union, so former racers are generally on their own to pay for medical care. With the series refusing to help, he's now going to drivers, teams and sponsors in hopes of raising the money to help his former competitors.
To see how violent a NASCAR crash can be, scroll down below for a video of Geoff Bodine's terrible crash at the first truck-series race at Daytona.