UPDATE: The brief struggle between Aaron Hernandez's family and the Worcester Medical Examiner over the former NFL player's brain seems to be over.
The medical examiner will release Hernandez's brain to the Boston University CTE, their renowned unit for research, as his family requested.
"The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Aaron Hernandez’s death, which may require further analysis of his body," the Secretary of Public Safety and Security said in a statement as reported by TMZ Sports. "Once that is complete the brain will be released to Boston University. No one is going to stand in the way of the family’s wishes for Boston University to have Aaron Hernandez’s brain."
ESPN additionally reported that the decision to release Hernandez's brain was made promptly after his lawyer, Jose Baez, claimed that the medical examiner was "illegally" holding onto it.
Hernandez's family wants to know if he was suffering from CTE and hopes that a thorough examination could possibly help other families.
PREVIOUSLY: Considering Aaron Hernandez's history, the former NFL star would be an ideal candidate to be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease posthumously diagnosed in people who suffered concussions and head trauma, including many late football players.
And that's what the family of the former New England Patriots' tight end wants to do with his brain following his apparent suicide yesterday morning.
But they're currently unable to do that, as Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, told The Boston Globe today that the Worcester Medical Examiner is "illegally" holding his brain. Baez claims that the medical examiner reneged on its agreement with Hernandez's family of releasing the brain to Boston University's renowned CTE unit for testing and research.
"It is our position that they're holding Aaron Hernandez's brain illegally," Baez said. "They have released the body and withheld Aaron's brain. There's a fixing procedure in order to take the specimens and it is their position that they're going to be the ones to do the fixing procedure."
TMZ Sports additionally reported that Baez is threatening legal action if the medical examiner doesn't release the brain to Boston University as Hernandez's family requested.
Watch Baez make his statement below.
Erratic behavior and the willingness to commit suicide are serious symptoms associated with CTE, making Hernandez's brain all the more intriguing to analyze. CTE can only be detected via a posthumous analysis.
Yesterday, Baez suggested that Hernandez may have been murdered, with him and the former football player's family saying that there weren't any indications that the 27-year-old was willing to take his own life.
Baez called on the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, where Hernandez was found hung yesterday morning, to investigate. And he, too, has launched an investigation.
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(Photo: Charles Krupa/AP/REX/Shutterstock)