Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 8, 2012 – A legal battle over the alleged negligence of the NFL in the death by suicide of Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears safety, will play out in a Philadelphia federal court, where hundreds of other lawsuits filed by former NFL players have been consolidated.
Duerson was a defensive safety known for his effectiveness and fierce hitting. He was selected for the Pro Bowl as one of the best players in the league four times consecutively. He also was on two championship teams and was once the NFL Man of the Year.
In 2011, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He chose to end his life in that manner because he wanted his brain to remain intact, so it could be studied as evidence of the damage NFL football players can sustain when playing football. A study conducted at Boston University found he did suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition results from head injuries consistent with the concussions he suffered as a player.
One of Duerson’s last requests was found in a hand-written note he left in his residence, right before he took his own life. In it, he asked that his brain be given as a donation for research into traumatic encephalopathy, which he suspected he had.
“Dave Duerson’s death is a tragedy that did not have to happen,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago brain injury attorney not involved in the case. “We share his hope that his donation to medical science will help to prevent similar injuries to NFL players in the future.”
In 2010, the NFL donated one million dollars to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Reportedly, Duerson suffered from blurred vision, mood swings, severe headaches, memory loss, and difficulty spelling words.
Prior to his professional football career, Duerson was a successful student and graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in economics. During his NFL career, he was known for his intelligence.
Critics of these lawsuits claim that NFL football players must know that their sport has moments of explosive violence, so they are choosing to take that risk. However, others say that the league has not revealed the full extent of the damage that can occur due to such injuries.
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