Former NFL player for the New England Patriots, Aaron Hernandez, tragically committed suicide while serving time in prison earlier this year. 27-year-old Hernandez was previously convicted of the murder of another football player, Odin Lloyd, in 2013 before reportedly taking his own life.
The former tight end was found dead in his cell in April, which was ultimately ruled as a suicide. However, there were several suspicions surrounding his death, considering that the murder case was in the process of getting appealed, and he could have actually been released from prison. His family members also stated that he showed no signs of depression or mental illnesses in the past.
In September 2017, it was discovered that Hernandez’s brain contained traces of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) during an autopsy. When alive, common symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, depression, anxiety, aggression, and suicidal behavior.
However, on Thursday, November 9th, the Washington Post reported that Hernandez suffered from stage 3 CTE, the most severe case ever discovered in someone his age.
The Daily Beast stated, “The disease, which is caused by repeated brain injury, would have affected his decision-making, judgment, and cognition.”
The damaging effects that professional football players risk out on the field has been a major controversy for years. A recent study published in July of 2017 found that CTE was found in 99% of football players’ brains from the NFL.
With this newly released information regarding the serious danger of CTE, several NFL players have spoken out against certain aspects of the game of football. Former Oakland Raiders player Warren Sapp released a touching video earlier this year, opening up about his struggles with the deterioration of his own brain and his personal suggestions to lessen the chance of CTE in younger players.
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