NASCAR Driver Diagnosed with MS Will Keep Driving

Trevor Bayne, the youngest Daytona 500 winner ever, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

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Todd Warshaw / Getty Images

Bayne during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2013 in Avondale, Arizona.

In June, doctors confirmed that Trevor Bayne — the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 in history — has multiple sclerosis. Bayne announced the diagnosis publicly Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Bayne, 22, repeatedly visited the Mayo Clinic over the last two years to figure out what caused the mystery illness that took him out of five races back in 2011. At the time, he felt a numbness in his arm during a race in Texas but assumed it was from a bug bite; he checked himself into the Mayo Clinic three weeks later for nausea, fatigue and double vision.

His younger sister, Sarah, also has MS but doctors hadn’t been looking out for the disease in particular when he got sick back in 2011 because it is not hereditary.

Despite the diagnosis, Bayne says he will compete in the Nationwide Sprint Cup Series finales this weekend and will race a full schedule next season. Bayne was only 20 when he won the Daytona 500 in 2011.

MS can be a potentially disabling disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system over a long period of time. Symptoms range from fatigue to paralysis and loss of vision. There is no cure, but treatment can manage symptoms. Bayne says he will hope to inspire other with the disease:

“Why not help other people through their struggles and point them in the right direction? For me, I feel like that’s what I’m called to do, so why be silent about it and why just sit back on our heels and not do anything? I’m a race car driver, that’s what I do, but it’s not all of who I am.”