A researcher reports the brain of former National Football League player and convicted murderer, Aaron Hernandez, shows severe damage in the area that controls behavior. Convicted of that crime, Hernandez was sentenced to life and was due to be tried for two more murders before he hanged himself.
Hernandez committed suicide in prison in April.
According to The Associated Press, McKee stressed she could not "connect the dots" between CTE and Hernandez's behavior.
'But we can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE and CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision making, inhibition or impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behavior'.
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The Boston University CTE Center announced in September that Hernandez's brain had been diagnosed with Stage 3 CTE (Stage 4 is the most severe). Attorneys for the family have sued the NFL and helmet manufacturers, for failing to warn players about the dangers of football. The lawsuit, which seeks damages for Hernandez's young daughter, said he experienced a "chaotic and horrendous existence" because of his disease.
What isn't known is how many people within Aaron Hernandez's age group have been studied by researchers at Boston University. Other parts, like the hippocampus, had begun to shrink and large holes were found in his brain's membrane, McKee said.
A neuropathological examination of Aaron Hernandez's brain was conducted by Dr. Ann McKee, Professor of Pathology and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Director of BU's CTE Center and Chief of Neuropathology at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. "These are very unusual findings to see in an individual of this age", McKee said.
McKee says she could not say Hernandez's behavior was a result of his severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Hernandez was 27 years old at the time of his death.