CHICAGO — The family of former Bears player Dave Duerson filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL on Thursday, saying the league didn't do enough to prevent or treat the concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year.
The suit was filed on behalf of Duerson's son, Tregg, and three other children. Duerson died Feb. 17, 2011, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Sunny Isles Beach. He was 50. Duerson's family wants to know more about the NFL's handling of concussions during his career, Tregg said at a news conference.
"If they knowingly failed to inform and implement proper safety concussion procedures, then their indifference was the epitome of injustice. The inactions of the past inevitably led to the demise and death of my father," he said.
The suit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take kill himself by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions.
The NFL said in a statement that it had not seen the suit.
"Dave Duerson was an outstanding football player and citizen who made so many positive contributions but unfortunately encountered serious personal challenges later in his life," the NFL said. "We sympathize with the Duerson family and continue to be saddened by this tragedy."
The suit also names helmet maker Riddell Inc., alleging the helmets didn't adequately protect from concussions. The company declined to comment.
The suit was filed less than a week after nearly a dozen former players in Louisiana sued the NFL over their concussions.
Duerson had at least 10 concussions in his career, his family said. He left notes for his family asking that his brain be donated to science, and researchers at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine concluded he had "moderately advanced" brain damage and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma.
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