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Aaron Hernandez's Brain Shows Most Severe Damage from CTE Ever Seen

13 November 2017

Based on characteristic neuropathological findings, Dr. McKee concluded that Mr. Hernandez had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Stage 3 out of 4, (Stage 4 being the most severe).

Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine CTE Center released scans of the brain of Aaron Hernandez following a post-mortem stud on Thursday.


Hernandez, who in April died by suicide in prison while serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd, was suffering from a "severe" case of CTE at the time of his death, Boston University CTE Center director Dr. Ann McKee revealed in September.

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However, researchers say they could not determine if the damage to the former New England Patriot's brain directly impacted his judgment, emotions and decision-making. CTE is caused by repetitive brain trauma that often comes with professional football playing.

This graphic shows the classic features of CTE in the brain of Mr. Hernandez.

After Hernandez's CTE diagnosis, his attorneys filed a lawsuit against the NFL and football helmet maker Riddell, accusing them of failing to warn Hernandez about the dangers of football.

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While the outside of Hernandez's brain appeared normal, the inside was riddled with CTE, said McKee, who showed images of Hernandez's brain next to those of a typical 27-year-old.

According to the AP, McKee did not say Hernandez's behavior was a result of CTE, but McKee did say the frontal lobe of Hernandez's brain had substantial damage. The lawsuit, which seeks damages for Hernandez's young daughter, said he experienced a "chaotic and horrendous existence" because of his disease. In addition, Mr. Hernandez had early brain atrophy and large perforations in the septum pellucidum, a central membrane.

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Aaron Hernandez's Brain Shows Most Severe Damage from CTE Ever Seen