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Duerson's fears confirmed

Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest so his brain could be examined. Researchers found signs of a disease linked to repeated hits.

Associated Press (1988)

Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest so his brain could be examined. Researchers found signs of a disease linked to repeated hits.

CHICAGO — As former Bears safety Dave Duerson apparently feared, a medical examination of his brain found the telltale signs of a degenerative brain disease linked to taking repeated blows to the head, researchers at Boston University said Monday.

"Dave Duerson had the classic pathology of (the brain disease) and severe involvement of all the things that affect judgment, inhibition, impulse, mood control and memory," said Dr. Ann McKee, a co-director of the Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopthy at the Boston University School of Medicine, who examined Duerson's brain for all types of abnormalities.

"When you look at it microscopically, it's undisputable."

Duerson left a note asking that his brain be donated to science after shooting himself in the heart in February. Scientists found that the brain tissue had atrophied and contained abnormal brown protein deposits, called "tau," the hallmarks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

In another message he left loved ones, Duerson, 50, wrote about his failed business deals and family problems, about seeing stars, blurry vision and struggling to spell simple words. Family, financial and behavioral problems might, in some cases, be symptoms of CTE.

About two dozen retired players have been found to have CTE, but none acted upon his suspicion of it like Duerson.

His death reminded the football community that for all the reform in the management of concussions and other on-field brain trauma in recent years, the damage to past players remains hauntingly irreversible.

"We hope these findings will contribute more to the understanding of CTE," the NFL said in a statement.

Duerson's son, Tregg, said Monday: "It's my greatest hope that his death will not be in vain and through research his legacy will live on so others won't have to suffer in the same way."

simms trial begins: A driving-while-high case against Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms was built out of a big misconception, his lawyer told jurors.

Authorities say Simms told a police officer he'd been smoking marijuana before being stopped July 1 in Manhattan in his Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle. Simms' lawyers say he said one of his passengers had been smoking the drug.

Prosecutors and police say there was ample evidence that Simms, a former Buc and the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, was in no shape to drive when pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint at about 1 a.m.

He made a tire-squealing, "wild" turn just before the checkpoint, Officer Francisco Acosta testified. He said Simms slurred his words, walked unsteadily and said there wasn't any marijuana in the car because "he smoked it all."

After Simms was taken to a police station, he passed out on a holding-cell floor, prosecutor Alexandra Glazer said.

An alcohol breath test came back negative, and Simms declined a urine test that could have shown drug use, if any.

Labor update: The league filed an 18-page brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, saying the lockout should remain in effect permanently while appeals play out.

The league cited Pro Bowl players Ray Lewis and Wes Welker in suggesting some players were all too happy to have extra time off.

Welker said recently at a youth football camp, "Let's do a lockout every year," according to the NFL's filing.

Said Lewis after an autograph signing, according to the league: "To me, this is probably the greatest window of opportunity I've ever had in my life. It's been 25 years of my life that I've never had a summer to myself."

Duerson's fears confirmed 05/02/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 9:22pm]
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