Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in April, had advanced stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE. Regarding the results, his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, filed a lawsuit against the New England Patriots and the NFL.
Researchers who examined the brain of the former New England Patriots tight end determined it was “the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age,” said Hernandez’s lawyer Jose Baez at a news conference on Thursday, September 21. The disease was linked to football and has been found in more than 100 of former NFL players.
Baez told PEOPLE, “We got the results back and found that not only did he have CTE, but it was the most severe case that they’ve ever seen in a football player of his age”. He added, “There are four stages of CTE, and Aaron was a stage 3 at age 27.”
Baez added that Jenkins-Hernandez filed the aforementioned suit on behalf of her and the athlete’s 4-year-old daughter, Avielle. According to The New York Times, the suit sought unspecified damages for loss of parental support. The suit claimed that the Patriots and the NFL were “fully aware of the damage that could be inflicted from repetitive impact injuries and failed to disclose, treat or protect him from the dangers of such damage.”
When asked for a comment, the NFL said, “We have not seen a copy of the suit and cannot comment at this time.”
Hernandez’s family believed that the CTE contributed to some of his behaviour. The athlete was found dead in his prison cell at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Mass as he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder of semi-professional football player, Odin Lloyd. Hernandez hung himself with bed sheet five days after after he was acquitted of double murder charges in the deaths of two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. “John 3:16” was reportedly written in red marker on his forehead.