Did Football-Related Brain Injury CTE Cause the Death of Former NFL Star Aaron Hernandez?

The suicide in jail of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has again highlighted the football-related brain injury CTE.

Massachusetts prisons officials said Hernandez who was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, was found hanging in his cell this week.

The death has again raised concerns about the football-related brain injury CTE.

The condition is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). It’s a degenerative disease of the brain predominantly found in athletes, military veterans, and other people with a long history of repetitive brain trauma.

The authorities say Hernandez took his life in his prison cell on April 19. His family is skeptical that the death was suicide. They are seeking to find out if he was suffering from CTE, a traumatic brain injury that’s most commonly associated with football players.

Did football-related brain injury CTE cause the death of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez (Jeffrey Beall)

The Concussion Legacy Foundation says the repeated knocks to the head suffered by athletes lead to the build-up of an abnormal type of a protein called tau, which slowly kills brain cells.

CTE can only be diagnosed after death by brain tissue analysis. Symptoms associated with the football-related brain injury CTE include loss of memory, aggression, confusion, paranoia, impulse control issues, depression, and dementia. It has been linked to suicides.

Player Suicides Linked to the Football-Related Brain Injury CTE

An analysis of the brain of Jovan Belcher, the Chiefs linebacker who killed his girlfriend in December in a murder-suicide in 2012, found he was probably suffering from CTE. He was just 25 at the time of his death.

Ray Easterling, a former Atlanta Falcons player shot himself dead in 2012. He was suffering from dementia and was depressed.  An autopsy found the presence of CTE.

San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau also suffered from CTE. He shot himself in 2012 at the age of 43.

In 2016, The Kansas City Star noted the list of NFL players who killed themselves while suffering from CTE continues to grow. Eighty-seven of 91 former NFL players who recently donated their brains after death tested positive for this terrible brain disease.

The stories that make headlines may be the tip of the iceberg. Every year, as many as 3.8 million concussions are suffered by athletes in sports in the United States.

Until fairly recently sporting bodies at a local and a national level were dismissive of these injuries and allowed players to remain on the field after suffering a knock to the head.

The NFL recently reached a $1 billion settlement after more than 4,500 former players brought a massive lawsuit claiming the league failed to protect them from concussions.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we help people who end up with traumatic brain injuries through the fault of another party. Please call us for more details at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara


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