NFL’s Duerson Had Brain Damage at Suicide
Without chronic traumatic encephalopathy, he likely wouldn't have been driven to kill self
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2011 5:24 PM CDT
Dr. Ann McKee, from the Boston University Center that studies brain injuries to pro athletes, talks about finding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in the brain of Dave Duerson, Monday, May 2, 2011.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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(Newser) – When NFL great Dave Duerson killed himself in February, he had "moderately advanced" brain damage from years of blows to the head—an "indisputable" diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a Boston University center that studies pro athletes. Duerson's CTE affected "judgment, inhibition, impulse control, mood, and memory," according to lead researcher Ann McKee.

"The likelihood is that if he hadn't had the CTE, he wouldn't have developed those symptoms that he was experiencing at the end of his life and perhaps he wouldn't have been compelled to end his life," said McKee. Duerson, who the AP notes won the 1985 Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears, shot himself in the chest and donated his brain to science. His ex-wife and four children attended today's press conference announcing the results. "We have been given the gift of closure," said son Tregg Duerson.