Aaron Hernandez had the worst case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ever for a person his age, and all the severe head trauma may have played a role in his impulse control.
The 27-year-old former NFL star committed suicide in prison while serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 execution style killing of former associate Odin Lloyd.
“We can say… in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE — and CTE of this severity — have difficulty with… inhibition of impulses and aggressions, emotional volatility and rage behaviors,” Boston University CTE Center Director Dr. Ann McKee told the New York Daily News.
Researchers found images of Hernandez’s brain were speckled with black spots, believed to have been caused by repetitive head shots he sustained throughout all his years of playing football.
In addition, The News reported large holes were found in the brain’s membrane, and the inside of his brain was riddled with the disease. Hernandez was ultimately diagnosed with Stage 3 CTE out of four stages.
“In every place we looked, it was classic CTE,” McKee added. “These are very unusual findings to see in an individual of this age.”
CTE can only be diagnosed after death, and its symptoms include aggression, volatile mood swings and depression.
Hernandez was found hanging in his jail cell in 2017, just five days after he had been acquitted as the trigger-man in another double-slaying where prosecutors said he opened fire on the victims after one of them accidentally spilled a drink on him in a downtown Boston nightclub and failed to apologize.
Shortly after the killings, Hernandez was tattooed with the image of a handgun and the words “God Forgives.”
Attorneys for Hernandez have since filed suit against the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, charging they never alerted players about all the health dangers associated with football.
The Boston Globe has reported the suit naming the NFL and Riddell charged Hernandez suffered a “horrendous existence” that was largely brought out by the series of severe head injuries.
“Aaron experienced a chaotic and horrendous existence in many respects, due to his [previously] undiagnosed brain injury,” the complaint said, adding that CTE symptoms include “aggression, explosive behavior, loss of concentration, mood swings, depression, apathy, and cognitive impairment.”
[Featured Image by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]