Guest, Michael Duerson

Guest Name: 
Michael Duerson
Michael Duerson
Guest Occupation: 
Founder of the Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund & Concussion Awareness
Guest Biography: 

During 34 years at the Director/Management level my day-to-day operational responsibilities include strategic planning, tactical implementation, production, quality, marketing/sales, new product development, manufacturing engineering, capital planning, P&L and Cash Management. I have supervised up to 500 exempt and non-exempt employees, as well as managed multi-site/state plants ranging from 40,000 up to 1,000,000 square feet within various manufacturing disciplines including automotive, aerospace, off-highway, industrial products, food processing, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

In 2006, I received my highest honorat the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, IL): I was recognized as 1 of 10 best African-American Engineers in The United States of America.

My management expertise also includes both union and non-union environments. My successful union contract negotiations included bargaining unit relations and agreements with the United Food Workers, United Auto Workers, Steelworkers, and Teamsters.

The focus in my career has been the creation, direction, and management of turnaround teams. These teams are successful in substantially improving the bottom-line profits of the companies I have served. As a compassionate businessman, I pride myself on treating people with respect while improving productivity and manufacturing practices. I am a servant leader. My formal education has been in Industrial Management/Supervision and Industrial Engineering (B.S. Degree - Purdue). I have also had the pleasure of learning the Japanese continuous improvement techniques used in the Toyota manufacturing system and practice Dr. Deming’s philosophy. I have been blessed to have worked in numerous countries including Japan. 

Philanthropy:

The Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. (DDASF) was founded in May 2012 to commemorate the legacy of my brother, Dave Duerson (2-time Super Bowl Champion, NFL Man of the Year, during his 11- year career with the NFL).  Dave died on February 17, 2011 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.  It was confirmed on May 2, 2011 by the Neurologists at Boston University that he suffered from the 4th and final stage of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Mission Statement (DDASF):

Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund, Inc. is a continuous program to educate all students (Grades K – 12) about concussion awareness and detection. Furthermore, we provide neurocognitive testing for all male and female student-athletes in all sports (from Cheerleading to Football) in 7th through 12th grades. This fund is designed to be a sustainable funding mechanism for the school systems that we support.

Concussion History:

My wife Lori and I originated this 501(c)3 organization.  We have a strong passion for this fund to succeed not only because of what happened to Dave, but also because I have hidden disabilities as a result of a concussion that I suffered while playing basketball at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1977 – which left me paralyzed on the left side for 6 months.  I returned to play my 2nd year at IUPUI and sustained a career-ending injury.   Ihave been diagnosed with neurological and psychological issues which have become more pronounced as the years have passed.  From the age of 30 to 61, I have been voluntarily hospitalized for these brain traumas 19 times.   This is a huge driving factor for my passion concerning the high-technology ImPACT Concussion Testing as a tool to assist the physician in the decision-making process regarding the athlete returning to play.   I have received continued treatment for these diseases since age 18.  Ihave Accumulative Concussion Syndrome, in addition to the neurological and psychological problems. Dave was my Medical Power of Attorneyfor 20 years. In addition, Dave was also on the Board of Directors for the NFL Players Association for retired player’s disability. 

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