Former NFL Player Dave Duerson Commits Suicide, Donates Brain for Research


Last Thursday, former Chicago Bears and New York Giants safety Dave Duerson committed suicide in Florida at the age of 50. Just before his death, Duerson sent text messages to his family requesting that his brain be donated for research and examined for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a serious brain injury resulting in depression, dementia, and suicidal tendencies.

Duerson’s brain will be donated to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine, where it will be evaluated to detect the presence of any abnormalities, particularly in relation to CTE.

CTE is a condition that generally affects football players, generally as a result of the consistent hits they take to the head over a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to diagnose the condition when a brain is examined after death.

Duerson is one of many athletes who have donated their brains to CTE research. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy hopes that by performing this research, they will be better able to understand the condition and possibly even develop a diagnostic test for people while they are still alive. If CTE can be diagnosed during life, it may be possible to develop a treatment course for it. Furthermore, this important research will hopefully help improve CTE prevention with current athletes.