News broke Thursday that Boston University researchers found former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to have a severe case of CTE, the degenerative trauma-based brain disease that has been found in numerous former football players and other athletes.
Hernandez’s brain, which was donated after his death, was examined by Dr. Ann McKee at BU. Dr. McKee diagnosed Herandez with Stage III CTE (out of four) and released images of his brain which show early brain atrophy and “severe deposition” of the protein associated with CTE. The disease is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, which is why it often affects football players, hockey players and boxers.
The below video shows what the research team found. Stage III CTE is frequently associated with dementia. Hernandez hung himself in prison in April while serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.
Hernandez is the latest in a long list of NFL players who have committed suicide and later been found to have CTE, including Junior Seau and Dave Duerson. CTE is also associated with a propensity for violence, as with former Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who murdered his girlfriend and then committed suicide in the parking lot of the team’s facility.