The Duerson factor suicide preserves brain

Gav on sports

Duerson’s brain to Boston for CTE study at the brain institute

By terrance gavan

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Dave Duerson committed suicide. The apologists are blaming it on money problems or bi-polarity. CTE study at Boston University will give us the real skinny. Too bad we couldn't do a CTE study on gary bettman. Or Don Cherry. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

Dave Duerson, a former NFL safety with Chicago Bears may have been depressed, and he may have been confused when he pulled the trigger of the shotgun on February 17, 2011.

One thing Dave Duerson was not.

He was not ambivalent about the possible cause of his depression and suicidal mindset.

You see, Dave Duerson did not point the shotgun at his head.

He popped off one round to the vicinity of his chest, ending his life via severe chest and heart trauma.

He saved his brain for a reason, elucidated in his final suicide note.

He wants his brain autopsied.

Dave Duerson thinks they’ll find something up there.

He thinks they’ll find evidence of trauma.

Brain damage.

New York Times writer Alan Schwarz says that Duerson became very concerned that some of his problems

“When the former football player Andre Waters shot himself in the head in late 2006, the few recoverable pieces of brain tissue, which later showed the same degenerative disease previously associated only with boxers, made the health risks of football a national conversation,” wrote Schwarz in a Times piece on Monday, Feb 28. “Football’s ramifications so concerned the former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson that, after deciding to kill himself last Thursday, he shot himself in the chest, apparently so that his brain could remain intact for similar examination. To this point, the roughly 20 NFL veterans found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy — several of whom committed suicide — died unaware of the disease clawing at their brains, how the protein deposits and damaged neurons contributed to their condition.”

Duerson’s actions, while sad and inexplicable, serve to illuminate, with almost cunning dexterity, the current battle raging around head shots, brain trauma and professional sports in general.

To wit: Are owners and big league bureaucrats – including guys like NHL Comish Gary Bettman, and NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell – whistling past the graveyard?

The body count is piling up. Players are dying.

Does anyone care?

I’ll stick to hockey. Because it’s worth noting that the NHL remains the only professional sports league that courts fighting as an adjunct and de rigueur part of its game. Think about it.

That’s just stupid.

Utter bovine excrement.

And that’s not even the real crux of this argument.

Blindside head shots, cross checks to the head, backside hits into the boards, and a crass and tawdry mindset that allows a Steve Moore to ponder and then kiss off his career while the guy who literally jumped him in a back alley display of sheer and utterly contemptible cowardice, and gutless mayhem, Todd Bertuzzi, was allowed to go on collecting a paycheck.

It’s a pile of nonsense. It is in a word: Crap.

We’re told that no one gets hurt in a hockey fight.

Well except for Don Sanderson, who died playing for a Whitby club team. OHL Commisioner Dave Branch actually stood in front of me right here at the Northern Lights Pavilion two weeks ago and blamed that on an unfortunate case of droopy helmet.

This guy’s touted as a revisionist. Well, so was George Bush, I guess.

No one gets hurt in a hockey fight.

Well except maybe Matthew Barnaby, whose career ended in 2007. TorStar reports that the winger/brawler had a scare in the 2006-07 season when he lost the vision in his left eye for about 15 minutes after a fight with New York Ranger Ryan Hollweg. It happened again after two more fights over the next two weeks and his last game was Jan. 9, 2007, where he fought against Phoenix’s Josh Gratton. Goodbye ice, hello TSN.

No one gets hurt in a hockey fight.

Oh back to Steve Moore. The vicious attack by Bertuzzi left Moore with three broken vertebrae in his neck and a severe concussion, from which he was still suffering effects three years later. He ain’t comin’ back folks.

No one gets hurt in a hockey fight. Well there was Stu Grimson (2002). The same Tor Star article reports that, “The “Grim Reaper” saw his 12-year career come to an end after suffering a concussion in a fight with fellow tough guy George Laraques. He says now he played through concussions throughout his career.”

Ah but as Branch, Bettman, NHL vice president Colie Campbell and owners say. Fighting is not the problem.

But head shots? Well, maybe.

Dave Duerson is like a lot of NHL players. They all take an awful lot of cranks to the noodle in the course of their careers.

We’re going to get a literal look into the damaged mind of Dave Duerson.

Would we could gain such an intimate glimpse of the live brains of Don “The Din” Cherry, VP Campbell, Bettman and Mr. Branch.

Just for giggles and spits.

Are the neurons firing fella’s?

Or are they traipsing around those vast empty spaces, pinging slowly off those big bags of hammers… way up there.

One picture should remain ingrained here for all fans of hockey.

The picture of Sidney Crosby, on all fours, crawling off the ice.

That’s what we’re dealing with knuckleheads.