Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer made a bombshell announcement Thursday afternoon. The autopsy revealed that Hernandez was suffering from a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder.
Days before his April suicide Hernandez was acquitted in the case of a 2012 drive-by shooting that resulted in two deaths. He was, however, convicted of killing amateur football player Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He killed himself inside his prison cell.
CTE destroys your brain.”We’re told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age,” Jose Baez, Hernandez’s lawyer said. Hernandez was just 27 when he died.
Hernandez’s death may prove to be a pivotal turning point in football history. If the violence of his actions can be attributed to brain damage, does that mean that the NFL is responsible for the heinous crimes? Hernandez is far from the first player to commit suicide and be posthumously diagnosed with CTE, but his case was particularly brutal.
“CTE can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms such as violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties…CTE can be diagnosed only in an autopsy. A recent study found evidence of the disease in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were examined,” ESPN writes.
“CTE has been linked with repeated concussions and involves brain damage particularly in the frontal region that controls many functions including judgment, emotion, impulse control, social behavior and memory.”
It’s a tricky issue. If the NFL bears responsibility for players brain damage does Nike for selling football cleats? What about school districts that allow students to play? It’s possible that Hernandez developed CTE in high school.