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Aaron Hernandez CTE Discovery May Offer Perspective On His Tragic Life

It was recently confirmed that Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star convicted of murder who hanged himself in his prison cell in April, had a damaging brain disease linked with repeated concussions

An examination by Dr. Ann McKee of the Boston University School of Medicine showed that Hernandez had severe Stage III chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which can cause memory loss, impaired judgment, violent behavior and a bunch of brain-wrecking impairments. 

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), Boston University’s CTE Center, where McKee is the director, said in a statement. It added that a second neuropathologist confirmed the diagnosis.

The Shadow League on Twitter

Aaron Hernandez’s brain showed a severe case of CTE: https://t.co/7g5A5ydEup

It was also confirmed that his family is suing the NFL on behalf of his daughter. 

Robert Littal on Twitter

Aaron Hernandez Had The Worst Case of CTE Docs Ever Seen; Details on How Much Fiancee Wants From Pats https://t.co/LZQG2RraZv

While Hernandez doesnt get a pass on the life sentence he was serving for the 2013 murder of his boy Odin Lloyd, understanding why he was such a gorilla thug despite the endless opportunities he was enjoying as a player in the New England Patriots, does allow him some sympathy in the matter. And raises some serious questions about just how sick and bloodthirsty by nature Hernandez actually was. Doctors say he has the worst case of CTE they’ve ever seen so it’s possible that his brain was not functioning properly. 

Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, also had early brain atrophy and other damage, the CTE Center’s statement said. McKees research has shown that CTE, found in over 100 former NFL players, could explain seemingly inexplicable behavior, the university said. 

Her research has demonstrated that CTE is associated with aggressiveness, explosiveness, impulsivity, depression, memory loss and other cognitive changes, it said.

NFL players have gotten a terrible rap over the past two decades concerning acts of domestic violence, death, murder, drug abuse and other issues. For years it was attributed to elevated bravado, the psychological effects of a brutal sport in which guys are paid to hunt humans or the irreversible effects of an impoverished and crime-ridden community that shaped their morals as a youth. Its biggest sin may not be tolerating a pattern of arrests and certain unacceptable behaviors as some detractors suggest.

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The NFLs grave sin is the millions of dollars owners have made while ignoring a growing legion of players who have acquired brain damage from playing the sport. Also, the league’s reluctance to accept the reality of medical findings. In the face of mounting evidence the NFL still shows little remorse or concern for these shocking medical discoveries. 

Now we have proof that connects these erratic, violent and emotionally unstable behaviors with CTE. It all makes more sense if you are a logical thinker uninfluenced by the prejudices, lazy narratives, media-crafted images and bigoted thinking that pervades our nation today and slows our progress as a country. 

The brain of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher — the 25-year-old player who shot and killed his girlfriend in 2012 before committing suicide at the Chiefs training complex in front of his head coach — showed signs of pervasive brain damage (CTE) like that found in other deceased NFL players, according to a neuropathologist.

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The Kansas City Chiefs took to the field a day after their linebacker’s suicide. For more on this story, click here: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/jovan-belcher-long-concussion-history-team/story?id=17857167

In a report obtained by “Outside the Lines,” Dr. Piotr Kozlowski writes that he detected neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein, which is identified with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The tangles were distributed throughout Belcher’s hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with memory, learning and emotion.

Despite warning signs the Chiefs kept exposing Belcher to risks in practice and games. Belcher’s body was exhumed one year after his death, and his brain was examined two weeks later. Kozlowski was hired to diagnose the brain by court-appointed Kansas City attorneys who represent the interests of Belcher’s daughter. A lawsuit was filed against the NFL on her behalf. 

The list of players affected by this crippling disease is building up and its bringing clarity to some mysterious, inconsistent and unfathomably tragic endings for some of our NFL greats. 

Junior Seau had a great life as an NFL star, but he killed himself and was later diagnosed with CTE. Former Bears player Dave Duerson who committed suicide and left a request for his brain to be donated to science is one of the saddest cases.  

Junior Seau’s Suicide Story: League of Denial (Part 8 of 9) | FRONTLINE

Subscribe to FRONTLINE on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/1BycsJW After Junior Seau fatally shot himself in the chest after years of erratic behavior, an examination of his brain revealed a degenerative disease also found in other players.

Dare I even say Rae Carruth may have had CTE? We wont know until he is dead, but plotting a sensational but highly improbable murder plot to kill his girlfriend and unborn child and participating with the remorseless hitmen to lead the victim to her death seems a bit too crazy and ruthless for anybody, especially a football player making hundreds of thousands of dollars and thriving in the spotlight.

Was he sick in the head? Or really sick in the head? 

Rae Carruth & Van Brett Watkins Murder Trail

Uploaded by Vintage Throwback Classic on 2015-09-28.

If Hernandez actions were inspired by a brain disease and not the malicious, ruthless intentions of a maniac, entitled NFL player with a split personality, then you have to at least show him some compassion because the medical evidence is pouring in. What these tragedies really show us is that the NFL is more big business than sport. The league has known about these risks for years and as long as it wasnt common knowledge to the public they weren’t going to go out of their way to protect players or help retired players suffering every day. 

This summer, McKees team studied the brains of 202 former football players after they died and found CTE in 177 of them. The NFL has said little about the matter and somebody put the muzzle on Boston University, which said it would have no further statement on its findings

The NFL is consumed with speculation, punishing Ezekiel Elliott and looking tough on domestic violence, rather than getting to the root of the problem. And that in itself is the major problem.  

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