Sterling Marlin’s health — The former racer’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease

Sterling Marlin

After a 30-year career in NASCAR, Sterling Marlin officially retired from the competition in March 2010. He had been meaning to quit for some time, citing the changes in the sport as the main reason. While he would miss racing, he said that it became less fun over the years.

Marlin was later diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease shortly after his retirement. However, that only motivated him to get better and continue racing as a hobby. He occasionally races at the Pro Late Model Division at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville and even won the race in 2017.

Sterling Marlin underwent four deep brain stimulation surgeries to treat his Parkinsonism

Sterling Marlin revealed in a 2012 interview that he had Parkinsonism. The symptoms first emerged a year earlier when a cut to his right-hand knuckle caused nerve damage. This affected his fine motor skills and soon the injured hand began shaking.

But the alarm bells went off when the shaking refused to cease even after his hand had healed. During a visit to the doctor, he was diagnosed with Parkinsonism. He recalled:

“I cut the knuckle real bad on [my] bird finger … I couldn’t shoot a bird. Just impossible. It wouldn’t move and I thought that was the problem. But it got healed up and I said, ‘Something’s still wrong.’ And it kept getting worse and worse and worse, so I went to the doctor to see what the hell was going on.”

As part of the treatment for his disease, he underwent multiple deep brain stimulation surgeries at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He had plans to return to racing after the surgeries and was excited to try out his new car.

The first stage of the surgery began in March 2019 and Marlin completed the final part of the four surgery stages in April. He was optimistic about the treatment, saying:

“It was a good deal. I’m still getting over it. I had it back in March and still hadn’t gotten over it yet. I have bad days and good days. I feel a lot better.”