Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke with Boston Red Sox player Brock Holt for about an hour by phone last month after Holt endured vertigo from concussions, Holt told reporters before a Red Sox home game last weekend.
Holt credited his conversations with Earnhardt, former Red Sox David Ross and Baltimore Oriole Brian Roberts with helping him recover.
“It was nice talking to those guys, knowing that they had gotten better,” Holt said in the interview published by the Boston Red Sox on the website MassLive.com.
“That was big for me, being able to talk to guys who had gone through it,” he said. “Because you can talk to your training staff, your teammates, your family even, and you can explain how you feel, but no one really knows.”
“They did the rehab I did, and they’re living normal lives now,” he said.
What Earnhardt went through was most similar to what he endured, Holt said. “I think his was a little bit more intense,” he said.
Earnhardt, NASCAR’s most popular driver, announced in April that he will retire at the end of the 2017 season.
He has had multiple concussions in his career and missed the second half of the 2016 season because of the effects from one of them.
Even before that latest concussion, Earnhardt said on Twitter that he planned to donate his brain to a leading research center. He hopes studying his brain will help advance the fight against brain injury, particularly in athletes.
“Even though they have learned a lot, there’s just so much they don’t know,” Earnhardt told Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler in May, referring to doctors who are researching concussions. “Some of the real hard evidence is going to be in the brains of these athletes.”