This February 17, I could not put together words that would pay homage to Dave Duerson, my friend. So, I did not speak. I published a poem on leadership that I read at the Nation’s Capitol last year in honor of his death, on Michael Jordan’s birthday (my favorite basketball player).
Still, I feel unsettled because the original post that I wrote about Duerson was out of devastation when in fact life events had tested my desire to commit a similar act. I on the other hand could not go through with it.
There was no suicidal attempt, although my closest confidants would say that my closeness was eery. But when I heard the news that Junior Seau had shot himself in the chest, I wondered if Dave Duerson’s strategic choice motivated Seau to do the same. Did he leave a note? Would he ask that his brain be donated as well?
What we know is that Dave Duerson did have some challenges. To his credit he was a brilliant, and I do mean brilliant man who attended Notre Dame, and Harvard. He built a business to $64 Million dollars, and won a lawsuit after having to close his company due to their negligence for around $34 Million. When the company filed for bankruptcy, it seemed that his seven year wait would continue.
As his friend, I do not believe that he purposely pulled a trigger on himself. He was engaged to a beautiful woman and although life presented some financial challenges his brilliance was enough to help him bounce back. I know from personal experience that it doesn’t always happen as quickly or effortlessly as we would like, and then God sends you into a different direction altogether!
I believe that if Dave killed himself he may have made that choice under the duress and influence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or the symptoms that presented itself to him.
Here is an article on Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, click here I knew that I wasn’t the only one who thought of Dave when news of Junior broke.
One thing is clear, more than twenty football players have committed suicide as a result of brain injury that we know of. The sport will need to make adjustments to playing rules, or our men will be ill equip to live normal lives as husbands and fathers post football.
Dave Duerson and Junior Seau both committed suicide. They are among more than twenty other men with related deaths who are former NFL players. What will the NFL do about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and brain injuries as a result of long-term playing? Will parents discourage their children from playing the sport because of the health risks? Weigh in!
NFL do something NOW!