In recent years, the National Football League has been cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits, which can cause concussions linked to brain damage. Now it’s being reported that 50-year-old former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who committed suicide last Thursday, sent text messages to his family requesting that his brain be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy—a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma—after his death. “Essentially, your brain actually starts falling apart because you’ve been hit in the head and 10 to 20 years later start getting symptoms, memory problems, emotional problems and eventually it leads to dementia,” said a co-director of the Boston University School of Medicine, where Duerson’s brain will be tested.
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