Five and a half years ago, Super Bowl champion Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest and asked that his brain be donated to Boston University's Brain Bank. Post-Morton examination of Mr. Duerson's 50-year-old brain revealed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Since that time, the Duerson family and Corboy & Demetrio, which represents the Duerson Estate, have advocated for increased awareness of the dangers of concussions and meaningful change in the game of professional football to save the next generation of participants from brain damage.
Yesterday, a room full of prominent members of Chicago's business and political community leaders listened intently as Tom Demetrio (one of the Duerson’s lawyers, along with myself), Mike Ditka (one of Duerson’s coaches), Chris Nowinski (of Boston University) and Liz Nicholson (the wife of Gerry Sullivan, a former NFL player battling dementia and one of the plaintiffs Tom and I represent in the NFL concussion litigation) described the scope of the football players' brain disease problems and advocated for further changes in the game to prevent further damage.
The City Club discussion yesterday demonstrated that much has been done over the last five years to increase awareness of the dangers of repetitive head trauma in sports. It also showed that much work remains. I think all in attendance yesterday would agree.