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Dave Duerson’s son: “He was hoping to be a part of an answer”


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.”

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26 Responses to “Dave Duerson’s son: “He was hoping to be a part of an answer””
  1. footballrulz says: Feb 22, 2011 8:36 PM

    My goodness, 35 + comments on Mallet’s drug addiction & none on this. Priorities people, priorities. Mallet has yet to play his first down in the NFL.

  2. Canyonero says: Feb 22, 2011 8:46 PM

    “I’m just so proud of him at this moment,” said ex-wife Alicia Duerson, “That’s why I sued him for his two Super Bowl rings and 1987 NFL Man of the Year trophy.”

  3. umbskinsfan says: Feb 22, 2011 8:51 PM

    probably because this story is too sad for witty commentary… just not the time or place for any james harrison references

  4. ethixz says: Feb 22, 2011 8:52 PM

    footballrulz says: Feb 22, 2011 8:36 PM

    My goodness, 35 + comments on Mallet’s drug addiction & none on this. Priorities people, priorities. Mallet has yet to play his first down in the NFL.

    it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that the article of Mallett’s drug addiction was posted nearly an hour earlier?

  5. pervyharvin says: Feb 22, 2011 8:59 PM

    I follow this with interest for I Fought from 5 to 34 as an amateur and then pro boxer. I have pals that fought that are feeling the pain of brain trauma. Wonder myself at times.Brain pain and blurred vision are right on as symptoms. I don’t doubt him one bit. Hope his brain can help solve some of the problems.Truthfully though, don’t see it going away. Boxers use heads like pinatas.Football players take full speed blows repeatedly. “Got to pay to play” can definitely be a real saying. oh well..

  6. pervyharvin says: Feb 22, 2011 9:00 PM

    rulz! Imagine seeing you here…lol Hope all is well pal.

  7. joetoronto says: Feb 22, 2011 9:00 PM

    “I’m just so proud of him at this moment.”

    I wish this….woman….would just shut up already.

  8. bw82b says: Feb 22, 2011 9:08 PM

    Im not sure what to say….pretty tragic stuff.

  9. 0429199x says: Feb 22, 2011 9:18 PM

    It’s no joke. I have had several concussions including a skull fracture. I am only in my late 30’s and it is tough.

  10. thefiesty1 says: Feb 22, 2011 9:24 PM

    More than tragic, it’s a SHAME.

  11. chc4 says: Feb 22, 2011 9:29 PM

    This is a sad situation. That said, the guy was broke. He made some terrible decisions financially. Why does everyone assume it had to do with football related causes? Lots of non-athletes have the same issues. This has nothing to do with concussions.

  12. rjoppen says: Feb 22, 2011 9:30 PM

    She’s proud of him?

  13. raiderapologist says: Feb 22, 2011 9:33 PM

    Tough topic to comment on, footballrulz. Nobody has given much thought to Duerson since he stopped playing. Until now, of course.

  14. russin010 says: Feb 22, 2011 9:45 PM

    Very tragic. But even as an atheist I applaud his desire to reach from the grave and help us. My thoughts are with his family.

  15. wannstache says: Feb 22, 2011 9:45 PM

    Very sad. By all accounts he was a very good man. As for the ex-wife, if the accounts of her trying to take his ring, trophies, etc, and trying to squeeze him dry are true, she has no business speaking on his behalf. Sounds like she’s trying to get her 15 minutes. Hopefully though, some good will come from his donation. My heart goes out to his children close friends.

  16. jaxx12 says: Feb 22, 2011 9:46 PM

    Heartbreaking. May his death save the lives of future generations, and may there one day be no need for an NFL Brain Bank.

  17. ravenspit says: Feb 22, 2011 10:02 PM

    You left out the part where his ex-wife said to look for Dave’s Super Bowl rings on ebay next week, that she really needs the money.

  18. bruizer61 says: Feb 22, 2011 10:02 PM

    You really can’t say anything, other than it is very tragic and disappointing. It comes down to a person and his/her decisions Whether it is to play football, which comes with health concerns and in the end, sadly, to take ones life. Hopefully others can ask for help before it gets to this point. RIP #22

  19. dustinpatrik says: Feb 22, 2011 10:09 PM

    could be seeing a lot of young players retire soon

  20. 11inthebox says: Feb 22, 2011 10:11 PM


    You missed it. The people already weighed in. Most decided Duerson was just “selfish” for taking his own life. You know, there just has to be a simple response to these kinds of things, and the most compassionate, intellectual giants of PFT have spoken.

    But it is a tragedy that’s hard to capture with words.

  21. Deb says: Feb 23, 2011 12:48 AM

    No one will ever know why Duerson took his life. Depression is a significant factor in 80 percent of all suicides, and alcohol/drug abuse is also commonly involved. Contrary to myth, most suicides don’t leave notes … and since it’s not the most rational moment of their lives, you have to be wary of assuming too much from the contents of any note that is left behind. But brain trauma is real, and perhaps his contribution will yield useful information for researchers. I’m thankful his son can take comfort in that.

    RIP, Dave.

  22. puddinpouch says: Feb 23, 2011 3:42 AM

    Tough reading. Duerson was a great player. Time marches on, for us all. It is a bi*ch.

  23. chapnastier says: Feb 23, 2011 8:01 AM

    What are they hoping to discover by studying brains? I mean do we really need a scientist to tell us that getting hit in the head at an extremely high rate of speed over and over and over and over again is bad?

    I feel bad for Duerson, no one deserves to be at a point where they consider depression. Prayers with his family.

  24. bengalsown says: Feb 23, 2011 8:14 AM

    I’ve never been one to consider a person who commits suicide a “hero” or “honorable”.

  25. footballrulz says: Feb 23, 2011 12:03 PM

    Sorry folks, wasn’t meaning to elect myself PFT’s morality judge.

  26. ronniemexico says: Feb 23, 2011 10:58 PM

    bengalsown, don’t forget convicted wife beater.

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