Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dave Duerson

How does one react to Dave Duerson's suicide? Does this become a somehow more acceptable act because it spoke of looking to something greater than just the end of his life? Is it right to even contemplate finding anything positive in such unspeakable tragedy?

With his volunteer role on a panel considering disability claims of other former players, Dave Duerson listened and learned of the traumatic and debilitating spiral downward of dementia. Maybe the fear of joining those ranks literally drove him to choose death as a better alternative.

None of us can know whether it was divorce, foreclosure or the growing signs of dementia that caused Duerson to put that gun to his chest. All we do understand is that in the final desperate moments there was a text message and then a note, in neat print, asking that his brain be used as part of an ongoing study on the effects of repeated blows to the head.

There is something unnerving in such clarity of mind in taking an action that speaks to anything but. Death did not come as the ultimate sacrifice towards a greater good, but merely as the actions of a man who had lost his way.

Dave Duerson ran out of answers to life's questions. We can only hope that by taking his life in the manner he did, he can help us find one of the answers he was seeking.

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