Bruce Laird played safety for the Baltimore Colts back in the 1970's heydays of the team. He is now President of Fourth & Goal, an organization that raises funds and awareness for retired NFL players in need. Former Chicago Bears safety, Dave Duerson, killed himself in February at the young age of 50 by shooting himself in the heart.
Reports have just came out that Duerson had an advanced form of dementia that the autopsy showed the CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in his brain. Other NFL retired players whose lives have ended too early and have experienced the bizarre behaviors associated with CTE. Interestingly, Duerson expressly requested that his brain be donated to science to further study the effects of trauma from football on it.
(Please support the spread of knowledge about this very critical issue by clicking on the 'Jump' and reading Bruce Laird's statement about this important finding on behalf of Fourth & Goal).
Fourth & Goal today issued the following statement on the announcement that Dave Duerson's brain showed signs of CTE:
The news that Dave Duerson was afflicted with chronic traumatic encephalopathy adds another chapter to his heartbreaking demise, another retired NFL player’s name to the list of those whose lives CTE has taken, and another reason why research must continue and remedies must be enacted.
Fourth & Goal's efforts on behalf of John Mackey (diagnosed with dementia at age 59) -- reinforced by the personal appeal of Mackey's wife Sylvia to the NFL's then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue -- led to the 88 Plan which helps support NFL retirees with dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinson's, and ALS, all of which have been linked to head trauma. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken steps to
address head trauma and concussion in the league. However, more needs to be done to educate current players on the risks, to enact additional rule changes that reduce risk and protect players, and to improve care for those affected by debilitating football injuries.
For Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk, Mike Webster, Tom McHale, Chris Henry, Keli McGregor, Shane Dronett, Dave Duerson and numerous other NFL players affected by CTE; for the hundreds of retired NFL players dealing every day with the ramifications of football injuries;for the hundreds of active players whose careers and lives are at risk every time they take the field; and for Owen Thomas and the thousands of youth, high school and college football players who strive for NFL careers, we call on the NFL and NFLPA to take immediate action, including abandoning the proposal to extend the regular season to 18 games and improving the existing disability system.
It’s the least we can do.
President, Fourth & Goal
Baltimore Colts, 1972-1981
San Diego Chargers, 1982-1983
About Fourth & Goal:
Founded by the Baltimore Colts' alumni out of teammates' desire to help Hall of Fame TE John Mackey, Fourth & Goal has grown into a national 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds to assist retired NFL players in need, advocates for pension and disability plan reform and works to ensure representation for retired players. To date, Fourth & Goal has provided $250,000 in grants to assist NFL retirees in need. For additional information, visit www.fourthandgoalunites.com.