I love football. I “suffer” as the Dallas Cowboys lose, and “laugh” as the Washington Redskins lose. “Suffer” and “laugh” are in quotes for a reason. As passionate as people are about the game, its seriousness pales in comparison to what’s happening in Libya right now. There are games, and then there is real life. And sometimes the games and real life intersect, as they did last Thursday in Florida.
Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson shot himself, ending his life at 50. I won’t delve into the details of his life. But in death, he did something that was noble. He believed he was suffering from a chronic brain disease that seems to afflict football players at a startling rate. The only way to know that the brain has suffered from this is by a biopsy–but only if the subject has died. Duerson shot himself in chest, but before that, he sent text messages to family, telling them want he was doing, and why. The why was to preserve his brain for study, to see if the damage that claimed the lives of Andre Waters and Mike Webster also claimed him.
He sacrificed his life so that those who will play the game in seasons to come–not just the pros, but colleges, high school and little league–will know what their bodies are truly being put through. And what the true toll is for the those who played.
I will probably–no, just will–watch the games as they come back on in the fall. But just like last season, I won’t watch the games in the same way.