Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and any other issue you feel is pertinent as it relates to the NFL and this topic . Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players. He was a stauch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren ……….

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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Alan aka tophatal …………………

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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