Dave Duerson’s CTE and the Cause of Living Brain-Injured NFL Alumni

At a just-concluded press conference in Boston attended by Dave Duerson’s ex-wife and their four children, doctors affiliated with Boston University and Chris Nowinski’s Sports Legacy Institute announced that the postmortem study of the brain of Duerson, who committed suicide in February, confirms that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He is one of dozens of recently deceased athletes, at least 13 of whom were National Football League players, shown to have had CTE.

I asked the following question at the press conference:

Mr. Duerson served as a trustee on the NFL Player Care committee that reviews disability claims of retired players. A league spokesman told me that a total of 11 claims to the Mackey 88 Plan for dementia-related acute-care expenses have been rejected. There is some additional number of line-of-duty and disability benefits that have been rejected, and many of those also involve brain injuries – a subject that certainly weighed heavily on Mr. Duerson. In light of this new information confirming that he was himself of diminished mental capacity when he participated in these NFL Player Care deliberations, do you agree that there is a moral, if not also a legal, obligation to reopen the files of these  rejected claims?

For the panel’s answer to this question and my analysis, see my article Tuesday at Beyond Chron, the San Francisco online newspaper.

For background, see this blog’s series on Duerson, linked in five parts at “Dave Duerson NFL Suicide Story You’ll Read Nowhere Else,” https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/dave-duerson-nfl-suicide-story-youll-read-nowhere-else-in-five-parts/.

Irv Muchnick

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