Five days after former Bears safety Dave Duerson took his own life, his family is still trying to come to grips with his final message.
“PLEASE, SEE THAT MY BRAIN IS GIVEN TO THE NFL’S BRAIN BANK,” Duerson’s last text message to them read, according to Alan Schwartz of the New York Times.
The message behind the heartbreaking message seems pretty clear.
“He was looking for an answer,” his son Tregg Duerson said. “And he was hoping to be a part of an answer.”
Duerson also wrote a longer final letter, the contents of which will remain private. But Duerson’s ex-wife Alicia Duerson said that the letter described blurred vision and pain “on the left side of his brain.”
That could be a sign of a degenerative brain disease, and Duerson clearly wanted to find out whether he was afflicted — even in death. He was an advocate of player’s rights when he was a healthier younger man, and seemingly never lost sight of the big picture.
“I think it’s just an example of the type of person he is,” said Alicia Duerson. “In his time, he put the future in front of him — future generations of football players in front of him. I’m just so proud of him at this moment.”