Concussion Research Fund established in honor of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Dale Earnhardt, Jr., didn't want "something silly or goofy" as a gift from Charlotte Motor Speedway in honor of his final race there as a full time driver, and the speedway got the message.

On Friday Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that it, along with Speedway Children's Charities and Carolinas Healthcare System's Levine Children's Hospital, was establishing the Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Concussion Research Fund.

A check for $100,000 was presented to go along with the announcement.

The $100,000 gift underwrites ImPACT baseline concussion testing for more than 10,000 student athletes at 62 middle schools, high schools and athletic associations across eight area counties as well as Johnson C. Smith and Gardner-Webb Universities.

"Charlotte Motor Speedway is NASCAR's home track and Dale Jr.'s home track, so we wanted to present him with a gift will have an impact here at 'home'," said Marcus Smith, the president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "In addition to everything he's accomplished as a competitor, Dale Jr. has been passionate about raising concussion awareness through his own experiences and helping children through The Dale Jr. Foundation. We want the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund to do both with a significantly positive influence throughout the Charlotte region."

"Sports-induced concussions are on the rise for our young athletes, but thanks to Charlotte Motor Speedway and Speedway Children's Charities, local schools and athletic associations will have access to the most advanced concussion management tools available in the greater Charlotte area," said Mark Griffith, assistant vice president of major gifts at Carolinas HealthCare Foundation.

Earnhardt, Jr., missed 18 races during the 2016 season as the result of a concussion he sustained in a racing accident.

"We have a lot of history with concussions and awareness and rehab and all that good stuff, so this is very close to my heart," Earnhardt, Jr., said. "I hope to be able to continue to help others and this is a great way to do that."

The Mooresville Blue Devils football team took part in the announcement.  Dale Jr played soccer at Mooresville when he was a student there.

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