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Report: Duerson Might Not Have Qualified For Disability Award

Dave Duerson

Former Chicago teammate Dave Duerson holds up his drivers license that shows he is an organ donor at Chicago’s Soldier Field during a public memorial service for former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, 06 November 1999. Payton, the NFL all-time leading rusher, died 01 November from liver disease. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By Tannen Maury)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Former Bear Dave Duerson’s degenerative brain injuries might not even have qualified for benefit under the NFL disability plan he himself helped create, according to a published report.

The program, which is jointly run by the NFL and its players unions, awards up to $110,000 a year for players whose football-related brain injuries manifest themselves within 15 years of retirement, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Anything that is first spotted later warrants an award of no more than $40,000, and players even have a hard time getting that, the newspaper reported.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine announced on Monday that Duerson had brain damage when he committed suicide earlier this year. The safety who began his NFL career with the Bears was 50 when he shot himself in the chest.

Duerson was drafted by the Bears in the third round out of Notre Dame in 1983. He played seven years with Chicago, one with the New York Giants and three with the Phoenix Cardinals.

He shot himself in the chest and died at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. His family had believed since before his death that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, and he has donated his brain to B.U. for research.