Dave Duerson

*Let’s ponder the story of Dave Duerson.

He was the former Chicago Bears safety, most notably with the 1985 Super Bowl champs, and a businessman who grew a food company into a multimillion-dollar success. He had 11 years in the NFL and was selected to four Pro Bowls.

Last Thursday, Duerson shot himself to death in his home in Florida. He was 50.

It took a day or so for the official word that it was suicide. It took another day or so for the real shocker to be revealed.

He shot himself in the heart, not the head. He did so, it became obvious, because he had left a request with relatives that he wanted his brain tissues examined. Word now is that that will be done at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE as it is now known, first acquired public recognition when it was identified in the brain tissue of former Philadelphia Eagles player Andre Waters after his suicide in 2006. There have been other cases of CTE found in the brain tissue of former football players who committed suicide. It has been a murky concept for years, its connection to football injuries denied by most involved with the game, including medical personnel. Determining the presence of CTE can be done only on a deceased brain.

So Duerson gave his to medical science in the only way he could right now.

It is a story of unimaginable tragedy and incredible significance. If you are NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and you hear about Duerson, you want to lock yourself in a room for a couple of hours and alternately scream and cry.

Read more of this article by Bill Dwyre at the LA Times