Former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson sensed something was wrong with his brain and that football could be a contributing factor. Before shooting himself in the heart in February, Duerson left a note asking that his brain be donated to science.

A medical examination revealed signs of a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Duerson’s brain tissue had atrophied and contained abnormal brown protein deposits called tau. These are classic signs of CTE.

“Dave Duerson had the classic pathology of (CTE) and severe involvement of all the things that affect judgment, inhibition, impulse, mood control and memory,” said Dr. Ann McKee, one of the world’s experts in the neuropathology of CTE.

Before his suicide, Duerson had been suffering from family problems, blurry vision, erratic behavior, and trouble spelling basic words.

As a football player, Duerson had suffered multiple concussions during his career and thousands of subconcussive blows to the brain.

A former NFL Humanitarian of the Year Award winner, Duerson was hopeful that by donating his brain to science he could help others down the road.

The League of Fans is calling for all sports leagues — at all levels — to develop an education campaign on concussions and implement a research-based policy for preventing and treating them.

Furthermore, the League of Fans is calling on every state to adopt concussion legislation similar to Colorado’s Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act.

Briefly this legislation entails the following:

–Requires coaches who suspect an athlete has a concussion to immediately remove that athlete from play for the remainder of the game or practice.
–In order for the athlete to return to play, a written clearance from a licensed health care provider is needed.
–All coaches of athletes ages 11-19 would be required to take a free 30-minute online concussion course that would teach them to recognize concussion symptoms.

See: Duerson’s brain was damaged, study shows


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