Researchers Say NFL's Aaron Hernandez Suffered From Worst Case of CTE Discovered for His Age

Aaron Hernandez
USA Today

Aaron Hernandez had a meteoric rise in the NFL...and a tragic fall. And now, reports are surfacing that are calling into question how the late NFL player might have spiraled so far out of control. The former New England Patriots player suffered from CTE...traumatic brain injury caused by football.

In fact, according to Quartz, researchers said Hernandez's CTE: "was the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ever discovered in a person his age." He died at age 27 when he hung himself with the sheets in his jail cell in prison.

Most of you all remember Hernandez, who made international headlines when his NFL career with the Patriots came to a screeching halt after he was arrested in 2015 for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (USA Today

Earlier this year, Hernandez (27), hung himself in his prison cell just days after being acquitted of two additional murder charges.

But before all of this, in 2012 Aaron Hernandez made history by receiving the largest signing bonus ever given to a tight-end at $12.5 million. In the same year, his daughter was born and he proposed to his girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins. Why would someone who seemed to be prospering this well in life commit murder? How does someone spiral so far out of control.?

Some of the answers may now lie in the autopsy of his brain done by Boston researcher, Dr. Ann McKee. 

Dr. McKee's research shows Hernandez suffered from severe brain damage. Her post mortem diagnosis was CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 

CTE is a degenerative brain disease that is linked to repetitive blows to the head like ones received by football players. According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation over time, due to the killing of brain cells, a person with CTE, will began to show signs of aggression, depression and decreased impulse control. 

Brain stages of CTE

Dr. McKee, who heads the Boston University's CTE Center confirmed her diagnosis of Stage 3 CTE (stage 4 is the worse). 

Dr. Ann McKee discusses Aaron Hernandez's brain disease

Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, has officially filed a lawsuit against the NFL saying the league did not disclose, protect, or treat the dangers of repetitive injuries to the brain. Dr. Mckee's findings come at a bad time for the NFL seeing how just recently the Seattle Seahawks are under fire for potentially violating the concussion protocol. After taking a hard hit to the chin,  Seahawks star quarterback, Russell Wilson, only sat out for one play instead of being cleared by a physician as the protocol states. 

Although it cannot be said for sure that CTE led to the unfortunate events of Aaron Hernandez, Dr. McKee told the Boston Globe "we can say collectively that individuals with CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, aggression, often emotional volatility, and rage behavior."

What do you think, fam? Does this diagnosis change your opinion of Hernandez's convicted murder charge? Weigh in...

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