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CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson took his life in 2011 after suffering years of concussion symptoms.
Now, his family is donating concussion testing kits to the Chicago Public School District, with the hope of saving kids from suffering serious injury.
It’s called the King-Devick test. With proper training, the two-minute evaluation can determine if an athlete is suffering from concussion symptoms.
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Players can be given the test on the sidelines. They read a series of numbers on a card, and if they cannot read them in a predetermined amount of time, they should not play and get additional treatment.
Duerson’s son, Tregg, said it’s a long way from the days when he used to fall down playing football and his dad would say, “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Now we all know that the old saying of ‘How many fingers am I holding up?’ is flawed to say the least, but dad may have been on to something–that fundamentally when a concussion occurs our vision is impaired.”
At the game Friday between Marshall and Senn high schools, some of the players said they’re taking the possibility of having a concussion very seriously.
“If a guy gets hurt on the field, they’ve got to be pulled out and make sure they’re alright and checked by a doctor,” Marshall’s Julius Fenderson told CBS 2′s Suzanne LeMignot. “I think it’s very generous [of the Duerson family] in that they are very caring to see us be safe and careful on the field.”
Senn High School coach Alex Gallegos welcomes the addition of the sideline test.
“Our student athletes, their health comes first and it’s an important barometer to determine whether further testing is necessary,” Gallegos said.
To get the free testing kit, at least one staff member on each of the Chicago Public Schools 80 football teams must be trained on how to use it.
Duerson, 50, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Miami in February, 2011. Tests on his brain revealed damage as a result of repeated blows to the head. His family believes the condition led to his suicide.
Duerson played safety with the Chicago Bears for seven season and made the Pro Bowl four times.