Aaron Hernandez Suffered Head Trauma — Does It Explain His Behavior?
Sept 25, 2017

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Five months after he was found dead in his cell at a Massachusetts prison, Aaron Hernandez has emerged as a key figure in the debate surrounding the health risks associated with football

Researchers at Boston University revealed Hernandez suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease believed to be linked to repeated head injuries. After studying Hernandez's brain, the researchers determined the Bristol native and former New England Patriots player suffered from an advanced level of the disease

Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for murder, was just 27 when he committed suicide. The lawsuit filed against the NFL and the Patriots on behalf of Hernandez's 4-year-old daughter seeks $20 million in damages and links his suicide to symptoms of CTE.
While the suit does not connect Hernandez's crime to his brain disease, the story entered the court of public opinion in the aftermath of the findings: Could Hernandez's criminal behavior be byproduct of head trauma from playing football?

Speaking to reporters on a conference call Friday morning, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart insisted that Hernandez was no victim and that the science surrounding CTE research is unsettled.

"His personal story is complex. It doesn't lend itself to simple answers," Lockhart said. "He was convicted of a homicide and his well-documented behavioral issues began long before he played in the National Football League. … I think this case does highlight a critical point. It goes to the consensus among the scientific community and how much they still need to understand about CTE. This is a very complicated puzzle. Every piece is important. There are a lot of dots here. The science just hasn't figured out how to connect them."