Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport was safe.
Hernandez's brain was studied at Boston University after his death and he was found to have stage 3 CTE.
Hernandez played for the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2012 after a standout collegiate career at the University of Florida. The convicted murderer hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19th while serving a life sentence.
Avielle Hernandez's mother, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, attended Thursday's news conference but did not speak.
Hernandez's fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, filed a lawsuit in MA federal court against the Patriots and the NFL on Thursday, claiming the football organizations knew about the risks of CTE.
Baez said the test for CTE would be an important part of his office's investigation into Hernandez's death.
"Aaron Hernandez had an advanced, stage 3 of CTE, which is normally found in the median age of a 67-year-old man", Baez said. CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy. That acquittal came just days before his suicide. In addition, Mr. Hernandez had early brain atrophy and large perforations in the septum pellucidum, a central membrane.
We are grateful to the family of Aaron Hernandez for donating his brain to the VA-BU-CLF brain bank, located at the Jamaica Plain campus of the VA Boston Healthcare System.
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.
A judge earlier this year vacated that conviction, because Hernandez had not exhausted all his avenues of appeal by the time he died, a move allowed by a quirk in MA law.