After Suicide, NFL Player's Brain Goes to Research

Scientists focus on effect of repeat injuries
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2011 6:23 AM CST
After Suicide, NFL Player's Brain Goes to Research
In this 1988 handout photo released by NFL Photos, Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson is shown.    (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

(Newser) – Celebrated Bears safety Dave Duerson killed himself this week at age 50, and his family is donating his brain to science to see whether his suicide may have been related to concussions and brain injuries received as a player. "He had informed (his family) at some point that he wanted his brain to be studied so people could learn more about the effect of brain trauma and so kids could play the game more safely in the future," a co-director of the Boston University School of Medicine tells the Chicago Tribune.

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Researchers will be looking for problems related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disorder caused by repetitive brain trauma. "NFL players are at higher risk for CTE than normal people and probably other athletes as well," says the institute co-director. "Of the 14 former NFL players we've completed studies on, 13 of them had the disease." (Read more chronic traumatic encephalopathy stories.)

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