Otis Wilson to Donate Brain to CTE Research, Joins Coalition


otis wilson

A revelation from Chicago Bears legend Otis Wilson was the biggest newsmaker this morning during a press conference held at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. The news conference featured State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) and advocates introducing new legislation aimed at reducing head injuries in football.

The new legislation, House Bill 4341, is named after Wilson’s former teammate on the Super Bowl XX winning Chicago Bears, Dave Duerson. The Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE, which would end tackle football for children under age 12 in Illinois, now goes before the Illinois General Assembly at the start of the 2018 legislative session.

During the Q&A portion of the news conference, Otis Wilson was asked if he will be donating his brain to CTE research. He replied in the affirmative, and then joked “I don’t think they want it.” 

He then added: “I’ve thought about it, and I won’t need it where I’m going, so you might as well help the process.”

“There are a lot of individuals that have this issue and the more research that’s being done- hopefully we’ll have something to combat it. From what I can tell, from the athlete’s stand point, you can’t tell what’s going on until you’re gone.”

“So I’m hoping that something while guys are here, so they can get that help.”

Wilson said his health is well monitored, and that everything is okay right now, but he’s well aware that something serious could develop down the line.

The act of legislation’s namesake, Dave Duerson, took his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 50 in 2011. His son, Tregg Duerson, is part of the coalition.

For audio of the press conference go to this link.

“This bill honors my family’s hopes and my father’s legacy to protect future athletes and the future of football,” he said. “There is no place in our society where a 10 year old should be playing like it’s Super Bowl Sunday.”

As we are just days until Super Bowl LII kicks off, the timing of this bill introduction is very opportune, as the sport will no doubt be top of mind for most Americans.

The most memorable and powerful part of the press conference though was when Mike Adamle took the podium. The former Chicago Bears and Northwestern Wildcats running back, was a television broadcaster for three decades, until a 2016 diagnosis of CTE-induced dementia forced his retirement from television.

Adamle did not hold back during the news conference, and the way he wore his heart on his sleeve touched everyone in the room.

We’ll have more on Adamle shortly in another post.

“We all want kids to have fun playing football and to learn to play the game the right way early on,” Sente. “But the overwhelming data and powerful stories of our supporters here today show the risks of playing tackle football before turning 12 just aren’t worth it.”

For the language of House Bill 4341, go to this link.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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  1. Some truly great info , Gladiolus I observed this. “Anonymity is the truest expression of altruism.” by Eric Gibson.


  1. […] Duerson's teammate on the '85 Bears, the legendary Otis Wilson, was on hand, and he revealed that he will be donating his brain to CTE research. Go here for more on that. […]

  2. […] Duerson's teammate on the '85 Bears, the legendary Otis Wilson, was on hand for the Duerson Act unveiling, and he revealed that he will be donating his brain to CTE research. Go here for more on that. […]

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