The results are in on an analysis of the brain All-Pro Dave Duerson.
Duerson, who was a standout safety for 3 NFL teams over an 11 year career, committed suicide earlier this year. Shooting himself in the chest, he left a note asking that his brain be analyzed.
Duerson himself expected that he had neurologic brain damage due to repeated football-caused brain trauma.
This week researchers at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy confirmed that he did indeed have signs of trauma-caused brain disease. The condition is called CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
It’s a condition that has often been observed in boxers. Boxing champion Micky Ward, on whom Mark Wahlberg’s character in “The Fighter” was based, has pledged to give his brain to Boston University’s research center.
In the last few years there has been increasing concern about brain trauma, with a number of prominent players experiencing concussions. Quarterbacks who had concussions in 2010 included Aaron Rodgers
(Green Bay Packers), Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears) and Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle Seahawks).
The list of prominent players thought to have concussion related brain disease has been growing.
Meanwhile, players are bigger and the league has had a problem with overly aggressive hits.
An interesting but sad coda to all of this is that Duerson himself was a trustee of an NFL disability plan. In that role, Duerson voted on disability claims filed by other players.
The NFL is in turmoil at the moment over a recent lockout by the owners. For more information about the background issues behind the lockout, look here:
So at the moment there are many issues the players and the league face. But the issue of how to deal with the issue of trauma-induced brain disease is one that will not soon go away.
For an article that highlights some of the shortcomings of the league’s current disability plan, you can see this article by Alan Schwarz in The New York Times, “Duerson’s Case Highlights the Limits of the NFL’s Disability Plan”:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/sport … amp;st=cse
Here’s the link to the Boston University research program for brain trauma:
Category: Political developments