Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE, researchers say

New Aaron Hernandez Letters Released

Neurologists who studied Hernandez's brain also found that the player "had early brain atrophy and large perforations in the septum pellucidum, a central membrane", according to a BU release.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez suffered from the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Boston University researchers announced on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Aaron Hernandez made a decision to abruptly take his own life in his jail cell, just days after being found not guilty of the 2012 double-homicide. According to Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, Hernandez's family believes the CTE is related to his pro football career and is planning to sue not only the NFL but also the New England Patriots.

In the suit Shayanna says, "Aaron had stage 3 CTE usually seen in players with a median age of death of 67 years".

CTE can be caused by repeated head trauma and leads to symptoms like violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties.

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State officials originally refused to release the brain because it was part of the ongoing investigation into Hernandez's death, but later agreed to release it after the ex-NFL star's lawyer accused them of holding the brain illegally.

Hernandez is the latest former N.F.L. player to have committed suicide and then been found with C.T.E., or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, joining Dave Duerson, Junior Seau, Andre Waters, Ray Easterling and Jovan Belcher, among others. Hernandez was already serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd at the time of his death. In 2011, his second season, Hernandez caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns to help the team reach the Super Bowl, and he was rewarded with a $40 million contract.

Just days before his death, Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston.

Hernandez died at age 27 and is one of the youngest former National Football League players known to have the devastating neurodegenerative disease.

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