MIAMI (CBS4) – The family of former Chicago Bears football player Dave Duerson, who was found dead in his Sunny Isle Beach home Thursday, has agreed to donate his brain for medical research.

While the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office has declined to comment on the cause of death, The Chicago Tribune, which cited an unidentified person with knowledge of the case, has reported that Duerson, 50, died as the result of a self inflicted gun shot wound.

Duerson’s brain will be donated to Boston University School of Medicine’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Chris Nowinski, who is with the center, said he was contacted by the NFL Players Association on Friday and then worked with a representative of Duerson’s family.

“I can confirm that Mr. Duerson’s family has agreed to donate his brain to the CSTE at BU School of Medicine,” Nowinski said in an e-mail.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy is a collaborative venture between BU Medical School and the Sports Legacy Institute that’s addressing what it calls the “concussion crisis” in sports. The group has been at the forefront of research into head trauma in sports and received a $1 million gift from the NFL, which it has pushed for better treatment of concussions.

Duerson, a native of Muncie, Indiana was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and played 11 seasons in the NFL. He was a starting safety on one of the greatest defenses the NFL has ever seen, the 1985 Chicago Bears. While with the Bears he appeared in 102 games with 76 starts, recording 566 tackles, 18 interceptions, 15 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 46 pass breakups, according to the Bears website. Duerson won Super Bowls with the 1985 Bears and 1990 Giants, and played in four Pro Bowls.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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