Aaron Hernandez’s, former tight end of the New England Patriots, diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was confirmed according to his attorney Jorge Baez late this afternoon. Hernandez committed suicide April 19, 2017 while serving a murder sentence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He was indicted for a double homicide that occurred in 2012 while on trial for the murder of Lloyd, but subsequently acquitted earlier this year. Less than a week after his acquittal he was discovered dead hanging in his cell.
Hernandez’s family released his brain to be studied at a university after an autopsy confirmed no grounds of foul play and his death ruled a suicide. The film Concussion, starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, is based on the doctor’s research of CTE in football players and his battle with the NFL as they tried to suppress his research. CTE is a degenerative neurological disease found in people that experience repeated blows to the head; such as athletes that participate in contact sports like boxing and football. The disease occurs in several stages and is not evident for up to 10 years after exposure to consistent traumatic brain injuries. Hernandez’s family suspected that CTE caused many of his professional and personal problems and that is why they agreed to have is brain studied. His conviction was vacated after his death due to it happening while he was undergoing the appeals process, but many questions remain as to what the NFL and New England Patriots financial obligations are to his estate with this additional information coming to light. As the story continues to develop more information will be provided.