Aaron Hernandez supposedly had the worst CTE results for a 27-year-old in history.
Back in September, it was reported that deceased former NFL player Aaron Hernandez has a very severe case of CTE, maybe the worst the NFL had ever seen in its limited history of divulging information of that sort. Hernandez took his own life in his jail cell back in April while serving a life-without-parole sentence for a 2013 murder that he committed. Now, new details are coming out about Hernandez and the state of his brain immediately following his playing days, after he was arrested and before he was convicted. Unfortunately, his CTE outlook is now being considered far worse than originally thought.
Earlier today, researchers from Boston University spoke more about their findings when they started studying Hernandez’s brain. This took place during a medical conference. According to reports, they confirmed that Hernandez "suffered from the most severe case of CTE ever found in a person his age," and how that type of severe injury would have affected his decision making, cognitive skills and emotional responses to certain situations. Spoiler: it's bad news.
During the conference, Dr. Ann McKee, the head of the Boston University CTE Center, is calling Hernandez’s brain "one of the most significant contributions to our work" in CTE studies as a whole. She also noted that the opportunity to study the presence of CTE in someone this young doesn't arise that often. Hernandez, who was 27 at the time of his death, had Stage 3 CTE, which hasn't been found in anyone under the age of 46 before. As per The Washington Post, McKee wasn't about to connect the condition directly to Hernandez's actions that led to his public downfall prior to his death, but there's no question the two are linked.
"We can’t take the pathology and explain the behavior," she said. "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 of impulses for aggression, emotional volatility, rage behaviors. We know that collectively." Who knows how this will impact the CTE discussion with the NFL and potential player safety measures in the long term, but the findings certainly paint a bleak picture about what the sport did to one impressionable young player.