The Connection between Football and CTE: The Story of Aaron Hernandez
- First: confusion, dizziness, ADHD, and headaches
- Second: memory loss, impulsive behavior, and poor judgment
- Third and Fourth: progressive dementia, movement disorders, speech impediments, vertigo, tremors, depression, and suicidality
Four years ago, Aaron signed a $40 million contract with the Patriots, with dreams of becoming a superstar. But after just 10 months, Aaron was convicted of murdering his friend, and during that case, he was accused of two other 2012 murders. Even though he was acquitted for the 2012 murders, Aaron committed suicide while serving a life sentence for the other murder.
People with CTE have difficulty controlling aggression and impulses, have severe mood swings, and lapses in judgment. Could Aaron’s history of violence be the result CTE?
Aaron’s attorney Jose Baez filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of the former player’s 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. The lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in damages, states that because of the NFL and the Patriots’ conduct, Avielle was “deprived of the love, affection, society and companionship of her father while he was alive.” The lawsuit does not link Hernandez’s crimes with the disease, but it does state he “succumbed to the symptoms of CTE and committed suicide.” The NFL plans to fight this lawsuit.
Currently, CTE can only be confirmed after death. However, this case brings to light the urgency with which accurate brain injury testing needs to be performed in living people.
Mez, J., Daneshvar, D. H., Kiernan, P. T., Abdolmohammadi, B., Alvarez, V. E., Huber, B. R., … & Cormier, K. A. (2017). Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of American football. Jama, 318(4), 360-370.