Dave Duerson

CTE

Dave Duerson (1960 – 2011) played in the NFL from 1983–1993. Duerson played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. He was given an opportunity to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a pitcher and outfielder in 1979, but declined, choosing to play football at Notre Dame from 1979 to 1982. He graduated with honors, with a BA in Economics. Duerson was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1986 to 1989 in his career, and won two championship rings, playing safety for the Bears (Super Bowl XX), and the Giants (Super Bowl XXV). He purchased the majority interest in Fair Oaks Farms (formerly Brooks Sausage Company) in 1995. Duerson grew the company from $24M revenue to over $63.5M in six years.

Duerson was found dead at his Florida home in the winter of 2011. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner reported that Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He sent a text message to his family saying he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine, which is conducting research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by playing pro football. Researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed that he suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions.

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