Aaron Hernandez Had “Severe” CTE, Study Finds

A study has revealed that former Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE.


Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in jail in April, was found to have advanced stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease.

CTE, which is commonly found in football players due to repetitive head trauma and concussions, has put the NFL under fire in recent years. Symptoms include depression, mood changes, memory loss and emotional instability. A study from July revealed that of 111 former NFL players’ brains studied, 110 of them had CTE.

“Aaron had Stage 3 CTE usually seen in players with a median age of death of 67 years,” Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, said in a press conference Thursday.

As a result of the Hernandez findings, Baez has filed a $20 million lawsuit on behalf of Hernandez’s daughter, Avielle, claiming the league and the Patriots both denied her of parental support and led Hernandez to believe the sport was safe.

Dr. Ann McKee, who is the chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, did the brain research. She determined that Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE, which generally results in cognitive impairment and trouble with functions such as planning and organizing.

Baez noted that doctors said it was “the most severe case [CTE researchers] had ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age.”

Hernandez played 40 games at the college level and 44 total games in the NFL (three seasons) before he was arrested at the age of 23 for Odin Lloyd’s murder.

He is one of the youngest former NFL players to be found with CTE.