- In medical news that rocked the racing world, NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne has revealed that he has multiple sclerosis.
- Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500, intends to continue racing.
- MS is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the brain and spinal cord.
CONCORD, North Carolina — Trevor Bayne, who scored a storybook Daytona 500 victory at age 20 in 2011 driving the iconic No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Bayne, of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been cleared to continue competing in NASCAR, racing for the Roush Fenway Racing team in the Nationwide Series and in a limited Sprint Cup schedule in the Wood Brothers car, after extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Multiple sclerosis, which means "many scars," is an autoimmune disorder that produces lesions, or scars, throughout the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation, pain and fatigue. It can result in damage to the nervous system that affects normal actions such as walking, speaking, writing and seeing.
MS mostly attacks young adults.
Bayne first experienced symptoms months after his Daytona victory and was sidelined for five races after he was admitted to the Mayo Clinic for tests. At the time, his nausea, fatigue and double vision were suspected to be caused by Lyme disease, possibly related to an insect bite.
But earlier this year, he learned the diagnosis was MS. It was Bayne's decision to go public with the news, Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark said, adding that the team fully supports his desire to continue racing.
Team owner Jack Roush communicated his support for Bayne in a statement.
"I have full confidence in Trevor, and his partners have all expressed that same confidence and support," Roush said. "As with all of our drivers, we look forward to standing behind Trevor and providing him with all of the tools he needs as he continues to develop in his young career."
Bayne, in the meantime, vowed to press on despite the grim diagnosis.
"I've never been more driven to compete," Bayne said. "My goals are the same as they've been since I started racing. I want to compete at the highest level and I want to win races and championships. I am in the best shape I've ever been in, and I feel good. I'm committed to continuing to take the best care of my body as possible."
Edmunds says: Bayne is taking no medications and plans to continue living a normal life: normal, that is, for a full-time professional racing driver. His younger sister has also been diagnosed with MS.