Apparently this is something that folks with a Type A personality suffer from. And Dale definitely was a Type A personality. Thinking back to some folks I’ve worked with in the past who were Type A personalities, they were always reaching for something like Tums, Rolaids, or Alka Seltzer. What caught my eye was the Quinidine. Just what is Quinidine? It’s a medication that was used to treat heart arrhythmia. Heart arrhythmia is an irregular or erratic heartbeat. DRUG INFO LINK
Why would he be needing something to control a heart arrhythmia? Go back to Darlington in 1997 when he passed out.
Earnhardt hit the low point of his year when he blacked out early in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington, causing him to hit the wall. Afterward, he was disoriented and it took several laps before he could find his pit stall. When asked, Earnhardt complained of double vision which made it difficult to pit. Mike Dillon(who is Richard Childress's son-in-law, and father of up and coming driver Austin Dillon who is racing n the Nascar Nationwide Series) was brought in to relieve Earnhardt for the remainder of the race. Earnhardt was evaluated at a hospital and cleared to race the very next week, but the cause of the blackout and double vision was never determined.
So, just how could a heart arrhythmia cause him to pass out? Here’s an explanation:
Syncope (say "SING-kuh-pee") refers to a sudden loss of consciousness that soon passes. Syncope may be the first indication that you have an arrhythmia and is a very worrisome symptom for several reasons:
* Passing out can cause a serious injury. For example, passing out while climbing the stairs or while driving can cause serious harm.
* If you pass out because your brain did not get enough oxygen to function, this may be a warning sign that you have a serious medical condition.
An arrhythmia can cause syncope in the same way that it causes lightheadedness (presyncope)—your heart cannot pump blood effectively during excessively fast (tachycardia) or slow (bradycardia) heart rates, reducing the amount of blood that reaches your brain.
With syncope, though, the arrhythmia causes such a dramatic drop in the blood pressure that the brain does not receive enough blood to keep you conscious, and you lose consciousness as a result. For an arrhythmia to cause syncope, your heart rate must be extremely fast or extremely slow, or you must have some other heart condition in addition to the arrhythmia.
Was the cause of the black out not determined or was it just kept quiet? Remember, who we’re talking about here. NA$CAR’s #1 Cash Cow at the time. A very good reason for NA$CAR to keep things hushed up.
Something not mentioned very often and is hard to find is the fact that the Earnhardt family has a history of heart problems. Just what type is uncertain but it lends credence to the heart arrhythmia. After all, Ralph Earnhardt died at age 45 from a heart attack, which does happen with certain types of arrhythmia. And the use of the medications containing Quinidine have been reduced since Dale’s death and are rarely used any more because it increases the mortality of the user.
And what about all the secrecy with the car? It was snuck into a garage in the middle of the night in Newton. Oaths of secrecy were sworn about it. And NA$CAR’s investigation wasn’t really an investigation. If you read through it carefully, it reads more like a fact finding than an actual investigation. There appears to have been part of the seat belt that was burned and yet that’s not really addressed like it would be in an investigation. Helton’s cutting a seat belt with a pocket knife and trying to match it against the belt from the car really isn’t scientific. It was more of a white wash than a true investigation. Bill Simpson is made out to be something of a villain by the media and the report. A man who devotes his life to safety in the sport. One person who saw the car and its interior said that the safety gear and seat weren’t properly positioned. Why isn’t this fully addressed? But I digress.
Go back over all the articles about Dale Earnhardt passing out and the articles over his autopsy and you will not find a single mention anywhere of a heart arrhythmia or any heart arrhythmia medication being taken. Why? That’s the big question. Who knew he had a heart arrhythmia? Surely it would’ve been picked up during a driver’s physical. Did Richard Childress know? Did NA$CAR know? Did Teresa and the kids know? Just who all knew about it and why was it kept hidden? Money? Pride? Promises? If the heart arrhythmia was covered up, just what else has been covered up not just in Dale’s death but other incidents on the track and other dealings of NA$CAR? And why have these things been covered up? Something to think about.
And just what would’ve happened had it been
made public that Dale had an arrhythmia? You
know fans would’ve been concerned about him
and his safety and wanted him to retire rather
than race. He could’ve easily have run DEI in that
capacity. He’d have made a great spokesman for
heart arrhythmia and heart diseases. Sure,
NA$CAR would’ve lost a lot of money. RCR
would’ve lost money. But isn’t a man’s life worth
more than money? We’ll never know what he
could’ve done because he didn’t get the chance.
Now I'm no professional, bona fide, card carrying
journalist but if I can find this information about
the arrhythmia, why didn't any of the "accredited"
journalist find it back then?
And in the interest of full disclosure, I have a heart arrhythmia and live a pretty good life in spite of it because I follow my doctor‘s orders.
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