CTE findings further muddle Aaron Hernandez story

Zack Hernandez, Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of ZUMA Press.
Former New England Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez had a damaging brain disease linked with repeated concussions.

The Chronic Trauma Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University has announced that former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez had a critical case of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy on Thursday, Sept. 21. Hernandez’s lawyer Jose Baez filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the Patriots, accusing them of hiding the true dangers of the sport.

Upon examining his brain, Dr. Ann McKee, director of the CTE Center at Boston University, found Hernandez had stage III of the disease; the brain contained large perforations in the central membrane, as well as deposits of tau protein in the front lobes in nerve cells surrounding small blood vessels.

“We’re told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age,” said Baez. Over 100 former NFL players, some of whom committed suicide, have been found to possess CTE.

In April of this year, the 27-year-old Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell after he had hanged himself from his bedsheet. Mood swings, lapses in judgment, depression, issues with controlling aggression and some degree of dementia are common symptoms of CTE.

Baez and members of Hernandez’s family have gone on record saying Aaron showed signs of memory loss and impulsive aggression prior to his time in prison.

The results of the Hernandez’s brain study add yet another element to his dramatic rise and fall.

After Hernandez helped lead the University of Florida to a championship in 2008, he fell to the fourth round of the NFL draft as a result of a failed drug test and involvement in a bar fight. Despite his issues off the field, Hernandez thrived in New England’s offense. In his second season, he caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns, helping the Patriots reach the Super Bowl.

Merely 10 months after he was rewarded with a $40 million contract with the Patriots, Hernandez was convicted of murdering his sister’s fiancé Odin Lloyd, and later acquitted in the drive-by shootings of two men in Boston.

The lawsuit filed by Hernandez’s estate is seeking compensation to compensate his 4-year-old daughter after the loss of her father.

The suit claims that the NFL and the Patriots failed to protect their players’ safety knowing continuous hits to the head could lead to brain damage.

“He was convicted of a homicide and his well-documented behavioral issues began long before he played in the National Football League,” said NFL spokesman Jon Lockhart. “We intend to contest the claim vigorously.”

The Patriots declined to comment on the suit, as they have attempted to distance themselves from him after his arrest in 2013.

With only a few weeks left of the regular season, the MLB playoff picture is becoming clearer as each day passes. However, before fans’ attention shifts to postseason baseball, it is important to digest the incredible regular season they have witnessed.

This year, the abundance of young talent that has taken the MLB by storm is remarkable. Every team seems to have at least one young stud who is excelling, but 25-year-old New York Yankee Aaron Judge has stood out, proving to be larger than life this season.

The 6-foot-7-inch, 282- pound right fielder has smashed an AL leading 51 home runs thus far, making his chances of winning AL Rookie of the Year very strong.

“It’s not fair,” said Judge’s teammate David Robertson. “It’s like he is playing on a Little League field.”

Los Angeles Dodgers phenome Cody Bellinger essentially has the NL Rookie of the Year award in the bag already. The smooth swinging lefty has lead the charge for the league leading Dodgers, belting 39