Battle For Aaron Hernandez’s Brain Ends, Family Donates It For CTE Research

Things appear to be far from over as the family of former NFL star and convicted murder Aaron Hernandez was forced to fight the state medical examiner for his brain.

NBC News notes that the attorney of the former NFL star’s family accused the chief state medical examiner of “illegally” withholding Aaron’s brain. Now that the chief medical examiner has determined the cause of death, however, the brain of Hernandez is no longer being fought over.

Aaron Hernandez dressed in a suit as he appeared for his court trial
Aaron Hernandez [Image by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]

Aaron Hernandez’s family plans on turning the former NFL star’s brain over to a center to study it for possible brain trauma.

“Now that the cause and manner of death have been determined, the brain will be released to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center as Mr. Hernandez’s family wishes.”

As those who have been following the Aaron Hernandez news thus far know, the former NFL player and convicted murderer was found hanging in his cell on Wednesday morning. He was currently serving a life sentence for murdering his friend back in 2013. Hernandez was just 27-years-old at the time of his death.

The state chief medical examiner has officially ruled Aaron’s death a suicide with the cause of death being asphyxia by hanging. It was Jose Baez – the family attorney – who first revealed the family’s intentions to donate the brain to help advance with the study of CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is the name of a degenerative brain disease which has been linked to athletes such as football players who have suffered head trauma and concussions.


According to Protect the Brain, victims of CTE can suffer from impeded speech, memory loss, and disorientation. Individuals with the disease are also more susceptible to suicide. CTE, however, is a disease that can only be diagnosed after a person has passed away at this point in time, which makes it a difficult disease to research.

There have been several different football players who have been diagnosed with CTE including.

  • New York Giants running back Frank Gifford
  • Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster
  • San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau (who committed suicide back in 2012)

Jose Baez has not speculated whether or not Aaron Hernandez actually suffered from CTE, but he believed it is imperative to find out the truth. The family attorney revealed the family had received the rest of his body prior to the brain being released.


It was around 3:03 a.m. when the former NFL star and convicted murder was found hanging by a bedsheet in his cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. According to prison officials, Aaron was not currently on suicide. He was alone and the officials had no reason to believe he was struggling or thinking about harming himself.

According to state police and the district attorney’s office, Hernandez was locked in his cell for the night at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. No one entered his cell until a corrections officer spotted him hanging and forced the door open. It was reported that the door had been jammed shut with a piece of cardboard.

Aaron Hernandez blows a kiss to his daughter during his court trial
Aaron Hernandez murder trial [Image by Keith Bedford /The Boston Globe/AP Images]

While there were three handwritten notes along with a Bible discovered near his body, what was written in the notes was not revealed. It was just last Friday that Hernandez was found not guilty of the murder during a drive-by shooting back in 2012 that took two lives. The judge did, however, sentence Aaron to four to five years on a weapons-related charge.

The Supreme Judicial Court was still in the process of reviewing the appeal of Hernandez’s murder conviction. Baez said the former NFL star was looking forward to being able to clear his name. Neither the family attorney nor the family had any idea Aaron was going to kill himself. Aaron Hernandez was originally convicted of first-degree murder back in 2015 for the shooting that killed Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was dating Aaron’s fiancée’s sister at the time.

Do you like knowing the family decided to donate Aaron’s brain to science? Do you think medical experts will be able to use his brain to learn anything new about CTE?

[Featured Image by Michael Heiman/Getty Images]