Ex-NFL player with TBI kills himself so scientists will study his brain

7 years ago
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This is such a sad story. 

A few weeks ago I wrote about a program I heard on NPR regarding football players and brain injury. The person being interviewed was trying to change the rules in football to protect players from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), many of which led to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The football industry wasn't having it. They didn't want stricter rules for helmets, how many hits you could take before needing to be sidelined, required testing for TBI, etc.  

But last week, somebody got them listening. Unfortunately, he's now dead by his own hands.

Ex-NFL star Dave Duerson texted his family members asking that his brain be studied for CTE, which is caused by repeated blows to the head. A few hours later, he shot himself in the chest and died from his injuries. 

CTE can't be diagnosed in living people yet and Duerson wanted scientists to be able to diagnose him (even post-mortem) with the disease. He had told friends that he had been experiencing issues on the left side of his brain (including pain and blurred vision) and just last year warned former NFL players about dementia. CTE is linked to depression, cognitive impairment and sometimes, suicide. 

Doctors at Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy will make a determination over the next few months.

Here's one report on the story: