Monday, May 2, 2011
Scary implications after Duerson diagnosis
By Kevin Seifert
Monday's announcement that former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson had brain damage when he committed suicide in February is both relieving and alarming.
Doctors at Boston University concluded Duerson suffered from the same disease -- chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- that has been identified in about two dozen deceased NFL players. Suicidal thoughts are one symptom, and so for that reason it's comforting to have a medical explanation for why Duerson took his life at age 50.
On the other hand, as Alan Schwartz of the New York Times notes, this episode brings a new level of intensity to the NFL's concussion issue. In essence, Duerson martyred himself for the cause. He apparently recognized the symptoms before his death, asking that his brain be donated for research, and hopefully caught the attention of current and recent NFL players alike.
The connection between playing football, suffering concussions and developing CTE has never been clearer. For the sake of Duerson's friends and family, let's hope his death does not go unheeded. If this news doesn't grab the appropriate attention and usher in a new era of crisis management, what will?