Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots NFL football player, listens during a pre-trial hearing at Suffolk Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, in Boston.

Credit: Matt West/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool

Aaron Hernandez Lawyer: Brain Showed 'Severe' Case Of CTE

September 21, 2017

BOSTON (AP) — Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

In a news conference at his offices, attorney Jose Baez says testing showed that Hernandez had a severe case of the disease.

A graphic shows the classic features of CTE in Aaron Hernandez's brain. According to the Boston University CTE center, there is severe deposition of tau protein in the frontal lobes of the brain (top row). The bottom row shows microscopic deposition of tau protein in nerve cells around small blood vessels, a unique feature of CTE.
Photo Credit: Photo by Ann C McKee, MD, VA Boston/Boston University School of Medicine

CTE can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms like violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties. Hernandez killed himself in April in the jail cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for a 2013 murder. His death came just hours before the Patriots visited the White House to celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory.

CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy. A recent study found evidence of the disease in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were examined.

WGBH News is supported by:
Back to top