Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced today that he’s sitting out the next two races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule (Charlotte and Kansas) due to concussions, one sustained at Kansas during a testing session last month and the other at Talladega last Sunday. It’s sad news because he’s missing out on racing — especially since he’s in The Chase and had been having a great season so far in terms of consistency — but it’s great news in that he’s listening to his body and taking care of the MOST important thing: his health.

Dale’s fans should be happy for him in that he’s serving as an example to others, fellow NASCAR drivers and young, aspiring NASCAR drives alike, to stop and take the time to heal. We know that many drivers will just “play through the pain” for fear that they’ll lose their ride which is — in the world of racing — EVERYTHING, but it’s really not everything because you have to look outside of that, you have to look at your life as a whole. Not being in that car on Sunday will suck for Dale and his fans but it would suck worse if he couldn’t function at a very basic level.

It makes sense to take care of something like this now when you can get in front of it, so to speak, instead of waiting for something worse to develop as a result of doing nothing.