Chicago Sun-Times

Boston University releases findings about Dave Duerson's brain

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Doctors at Boston University determined that former Bears Dave Duerson's brain had "classic" and "moderately advanced" symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma.

"When you look at the brain microscopically, it's indisputable. There's no evidence of any other disorder," said Dr. Ann McKee, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at BU. "He has the classic appearance of [CTE]..."

"He had severe involvement of all the structures that affect things like judgment, inhibition, impulse control, mood and memory," said McKee, who is also director of Neuropathology and Brain Banks for New England VA Medical Centers.

Duerson died at 50, when he shot himself in the chest in February and insisted that his brain be examined by Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Duerson is the 14th of 15 former NFL players studied at the VA CSTE Brain Bank to be diagnosed with CTE.

Duerson, who starred at Notre Dame, played safety in the NFL for 11 seasons, starting with the Bears. He was named to four Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls.

Duerson's family had requested the findings of his brain be made public. The center now has more than 70 brains of former athletes and military veterans. The NFL provided a $1 million gift to the CSTE.

"My father was a man of many accomplishments, both on the field and off the field. With these accomplishments came many battles," said Duerson's son Tregg. "It is my greatest hope that his death will not be in vain, and through this research, his legacy will live on."

Tregg Duerson urged the greater football community to support CTE research.

Doctors also said that Duerson had 10 known concussions during his NFL career, but they do not know if he had any before that.

UPDATE: The NFL issued a statement.

"We once again express our deepest sympathy to the Duerson family. Dave Duerson was an outstanding player, but an even better person, including being recognized in 1987 as the NFL Man of the Year (now the Walter Payton Award) for his significant contributions to community service. We hope these findings will contribute more to the
understanding of CTE. Our Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee will study today's findings, and as a league we will continue to support the work of the scientists at the Boston University Center and elsewhere to address this issue in a forthright and effective way. We also will continue to ensure that concussions are properly treated in the NFL,
expand the help we are providing to our retired players, further evaluate playing rule and policy changes to reduce and prevent unnecessary contact with the head, and advocate for the passage of Lystedt laws in all states to better protect young athletes in that
suffer concussions in any sport."

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12 Comments

I would really like to see a study done comparing the brain of Rugby players to nfl players. To many players use the helmet as a weapon instead of learning proper tackling.

This is going to be a long generational study, players from the 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's 00's, then they will be able to find out when the most head injuries occured. Or which generation suffered the highest rate of CTE.

Creighton, you would think the players from the 50's 60's and 70's would have suffered the most head injuries because of the fact the helmets weren't up to par with the helmets from the 80's 90's and 00's. But, the fact the players are bigger, stronger, and faster now days could play into more head injuries now days vs yesteryear. Bottom line is, there gonna have to start forcing some of these guys out of the league after so many concussions. The thing is, a lot of the time a player can have a concussion and not even know about it, and simply blow it off and not tell anybody about it thinking they just got rattled a little, and then just go back out and play. I'm sure that happens a lot. Football, like boxing, is what it is, an extremely violent sport where head injuries are almost unavoidable. Even with proper tackling technique your still putting youself in harms way when you got a 250lb muscle bound freak like Brian Urlacher coming at you with every intention of hurting said ball carrier. The only way to really stop some of these down the road head problems is forcing guys out of the league after so many concussions. Just an opinion now GO BEARS!!

ahhhhh...speking of brian injuries loosers....i just had to clue you loosers in on teh words of MY MAN rashad menfehndall...ohhhh sweet sweet rashad... :) here is teh stroy loosers

http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2011-05-03/rooney-responds-to-mendenhalls-tweets-about-bin-laden?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk1%7C60193

"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man" they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side…"

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take down a skyscraper demolition style"

(at former Illinois basketball player Dominique Keller)
"I believe in God. I believe we're ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge."

"Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves."

"For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn in hell and p--- on his ashes, I ask how would God feel about your heart?"

"There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to #think."


ohhh rashad....yuo aer a DREAM....i agree 100% wit evrythin g youy say....

remeber LOOSERS...i wanted jerry to draft mendnehall but he DIDNT. ohhh wah ta mmistaek he MADE!!! rashard is PERFECT in ebvery way just leik me LOOSERS!! he would have been teh best draft pick ever sense is ay so but ANGELO blew it!!!

but you guys now me odlc rppa-otn just trying to be posatgive...

ps open uproyu MINDS ans think for ONCE loosers!!! just leik rashad says!

Actually Kevin there is a common theory that the helmets are the biggest problem. Some players have talked about and some experts have talked about them going bat to a soft helmet which would force players to stop using their heads as battering rams. A semi soft helmet would force players to stop lowering their heads which is one of the big problems.

Kevin, I know you like playing around as Crap-ton and the blog wouldn't be the same without. But I also no you tend to be a little slow. We do are little back and fourth thing and that's fine. But making a joke about what Bin Laden did is just as bad as what Mendenhall said. No its actually worse.

You know I am a Marine, but that doesn't really matter, making a joke out of Sept 11 2001, terrorist attacks is sick.

"ps open uproyu MINDS ans think for ONCE loosers!!! just leik rashad says!"

There are certain things you don't joke about, you thought that was funny? How about some jokes about he US Embassy bombings in 1998, 212 people killed over 4000 injured. That's funny too right? How about the USS Cole 17 killed. 2977 innocent people died on Sept 11, and you think that is something to make joke about?

What Mendenhall said was bad, but what you said was just as bad. Why don't you go tell your jokes to some of the victims families. That would be real funny right? His excuse is he is clearly an idiot, what's your's?

Your literally are celebrating the death of all those people so you can make joke about football. Why don't you go take your head out of your a#$ and think about what you wrote.


Creighton stop trying to act like your morally superior to everyone. Noones buying it!

Just admit you wanted Mendenfall and you were wrong all along.

I bet if Forte fumbled in the big game you would be all over him like white on rice. But not a word about it when mendenfall fumbles.

Shame shame shame..

You both have it right. The size and speed of these guys has increased to ridiculous levels and the amount of protective gear has made them feel like they can throw their bodies around recklessly and never get hurt. If the NFL is serious about reducing head and other injuries I've got two suggestions:

1) You can't leave your feet to tackle (just like in rugby).
2) No blocking below the waste, ever (to protect knees as well as heads).

And/or make mandatory that foam cap that Mark Kelso from the Bills wore on his helmet back in the early 90s. He was way ahead of his time. I found this on the internet about it:

Longtime Buffalo Bills trainer Eddie Abramoski had watched safety Mark Kelso get knocked silly one too many times, so he took action. In 1989, Abramoski approached Kelso with a Pro Cap, a half-inch of rubberized padding that fit over a standard helmet and was attached with Velcro. The device was designed by Bert Strauss of Protective Sports Equipment in Erie, Pa., where Abramoski was once a high school football standout. Teammates dubbed Kelso “The Great Gazoo,” but the teasing was a small price to pay for the protection the Pro Cap offered. The creators of the device claimed that the Pro Cap reduced the chances of a recurring head injury from 65 percent to 3 percent. “The biggest obstacle is the aesthetics,” said Kelso, who credited the Pro Cap with prolonging his career. “I think guys just don’t want to wear it because it looks so different.” At least two other NFL players, Indianapolis Colts lineman Randy Dixon and San Francisco 49ers lineman Steve Wallace, also wore the Pro Cap. “Everyone laughs at me,” said Wallace, who started wearing one after suffering his fifth concussion. “But what’s more important, your ego or being able to play with your kids with a clear head after your career is over? I’ll never play again without it.”

Creighton, I'm not Crap-ton, and I would never ever joke around about something like the 911 attacks. I am also a former U.S. soldier, I served in the Army. Again, I'm not Crap-ton, I don't know how you got it in your head that I am, but I'm not. Someone on here is getting a good laugh at both of us. The same guy that is Crap-ton is probably Bumstead. I simply ignore the Bumstead comments, you should do the same with the Crap-ton ones. Also, if I were Crap-ton, why would I bring up Mendenhall's name, he became a better player than the player I wanted that year (Chris Williams), so it wouldn't be very smart of me to bring up Mendenhall's name.

With that being said, don't come on here and call me an idiot, you don't even know me. Just because I have different views about the Bears doesn't make me an idiot...ok. Your the guy that spends all your time running the team down on here, the same team that was two games away from winning a title, thats idiotic. I mean yeah, I've stuck behind some players that weren't that good, but being a fan and choosing to support my teams players doesn't make me an idiot. An idiot would say something like "the Bears would never sign Julius Peppers because he doesn't fit their scheme." Right Creighton? Again, I'm not Crap-ton and I really don't mind you Creighton, I actually enjoy reading some of your post, but don't call me an idiot and talk down to me because you THINK I'm Crap-ton. GO BEARS!!

Well then you better talk to Brando who it looks like is pretending to be you on a regular basis. Either way I don't know if what was you or him. Why would anyone think your Crap-ton, because you double posted the same post, once as Youself and once as Crap-ton. Thay's why people think your Crap-ton.

Could be Brando, could be you either way that's what happens when you constantly post under different names.

I do ignore Crap-ton what I don't ignore is comments like that and I never will. How many times have you claimed I am Bumstead, and how many other comments have you made? And I never wrote that about Peppers, I said I didn't think they would pay for him, and that he is better in a 2 gap system which he is, check his numbers.

I actually don't know who files these posts from "Crap-ton." But, I can confirm that Kevin and Creighton aren't doing it, unless they're using a different IP address than "Crap-ton."

In any case, I've enjoyed reading your comments. Let's keep the dialogue going.

Sean I have one computer one net server and I dont do the crap-ton act either. Just to let Creighton that it is someone else rather then Kevin, Mike or myself.

Thank you and have a good day.

Really Sean? Well in that case, Kevin I apologize, I really did think it was you and someone set you up. I don't want to blame a guy for something like that if he didn't do it, so I am sort of sorry. That's as good as it is gonna get, I don't usually apologize so take it for what its worth.

Ps. Your still a big cheerleader, which figures, you were in the Army after all. You had to know that was coming.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on May 2, 2011 10:35 AM.

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