NFL Retiree Organizer Dave Pear to NFLPA Boss DeMaurice Smith: Dave Duerson Voted on My Rejected Disability Claim. I Want It Reopened.

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Retired National Football League player Dave Pear, leader of the retirees’ group Independent Football Veterans, cc’d me on an email today to DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association. The message was spurred by this blog’s coverage of the late Dave Duerson’s role as one of the three NFLPA-appointed trustees of the Bert Bell / Pete Rozelle NFL Retirement Plan.

Here’s the full text of the email by Dave Pear and his wife Heidi:


Dear De Smith,

Dave Duerson was on the disability board as a voting member in 2008 when my claim for total and permanent degenerative disability was denied (again). I would like my case reopened and I would like a full report as to the merits of my denial and specifically why you think Dave was qualified (along with Robert Smith & Jeff Van Note) to make this decision.

How can an individual with a severe brain damage and no disability training or legal expertise as were Robert Smith & Van Note allowed this abuse of power and breach of fiduciary duty. Or was Andre Collins filling that day (or moonlighting as a disability board voting member)?

Does ERISA Law allow unqualified people the power to make these types of decision?

Please explain.

Thank you


Dave & Heidi Pear


(The Pears don’t even mention that Duerson, in 2007 Congressional testimony, was downplaying known evidence of the connection between football traumatic brain injuries and long-term mental-health problems.)


Irv Muchnick


  1. Leslie says:

    Wow, That is exactly my ERISA Disability Claim. I had a “Medical Expert” laugh at me when I said I had PCS and the symptoms it caused. I had ex SAG Board Members who hated my Advocacy I did when I was on the Board of the Screen Actors Guilds in the 80s that most likely spoke about me before the appeal began and then abstained from the vote after I left from the room. Finally, the stuntman, that diagnosed me with a spinal ailment I do not have and then said, “Maybe you should have never been a Stuntwoman!”

    My ERISA Suit against them has dragged on for almost a year, due to their side. Maybe they are hoping I will tired out and go away!

  2. Linda Cleveland says:

    Why are nonmedical people being allowed to make medical decisions like this? That’s terrible. Keep on fighting Leslie.

Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick