Nutty NASCAR Driver Is Safer Off the Track

Kurt BuschThe way the sports reports tell it, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is crying in his cornflakes after being fired by Penske Racing. Oh, excuse me, after "mutually" deciding to separate from the team so he can go off and not have a sponsor. Sounds like a firing to me. And thank goodness! The high pressure world of competitive sports might just be the worst place for a guy who's been battling mental health issues for months.

Have you heard the blowouts this guy has had this season? Kurt Busch has gone off his rocker. Getting him out from behind the wheel of something that goes 200-something miles per hour might be the best thing anyone's done for him in a long, long time.

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Oh don't shoot the messenger. I'm not the only one saying it, folks. Experts have said for years that athletes "choke" because the pressure is too much. We, the fans, do that to them, and then we get mad at them when they can't live up to our demands.

Busch himself let slip that he's been working with a sports psychologist for the past two months; a specialist hired to help him deal with "personal issues." By that he likely means tangling with reporters back in September after the Richmond race. The driver had to be physically pulled off a NASCAR.com reporter and later ripped up a transcript right in front of a reporter's face. He apologized at the time, and NASCAR let him off without any punishment because he was in a driver feud with Jimmie Johnson and all hot and bothered about winning. And no doubt they felt pretty bad about his divorce news getting leaked all over the place this summer.

But then we got a look at what happens when you don't hold someone accountable for their actions and don't take their off-the-wall antics seriously: he verbally assaulted another sports reporter at the final Sprint Cup race last month (ahem, deja vu). And then he was caught flipping off First Lady Michelle Obama's motorcade -- or at least shooting the bird in that general direction. His excuse? He was upset about losing.

Winning. Losing.

They are hard enough to deal with when you're in a good place in your life. But when you're mentally a mess, is it any wonder you'd be swept right under? It's clear Busch is a mental mess, and with some of the things he's had to deal with, who can really blame him? The good news is he's admitted he has a problem, and hopefully this psychologist can help.

But until he can get it under control, here's hoping no one gives him control of a racecar!

Do you think athletes deserve mental health breaks too?

 

Image via DigitalRedEye/Flickr

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