Shortly after Aaron Hernandez committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell this past April, his family announced that they would be donating the former NFL star's brain to Boston University's renowned CTE Center for research.
Well, just over five months later and Boston University's CTE Center director Dr. Ann McKee has determined that the former New England Patriots tight end had stage 3 of the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, at the time he took his own life, as reported by the New York Daily News.
"We're told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron's age," Hernandez's family attorney, Jose Baez, announced in a Thursday press conference about the 27-year-old, as reported by ABC News.
In April 2015, Hernandez was found guilty of the June 2013 first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, Hernandez was found not guilty in a separate double-murder case just five days before he committed suicide. That being said, plenty of people will wonder if Hernandez's CTE diagnosis helps explain that murder of Lloyd and especially his own suicide.
The revelation of Hernandez having stage 3 CTE — stage 4 being the worst — came in conjunction with the former football star's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, announcing a $20 million lawsuit against the Patriots and NFL, claiming the franchise and league, respectively, didn't protect him.
“Everyone, including and especially his family, is deeply troubled by this whole thing,” Baez said with Jenkins-Hernandez beside him, as reported by the Boston Globe.
According to the newspaper, Jenkins-Hernandez's lawsuit alleges that the Patriots and NFL “concealed and misrepresented the risks of repeated traumatic head impacts to NFL players,” and “needlessly delayed adoption of rules and league policies related to player health and safety with regard to concussions and subconcussive head trauma.”
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(Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)