Researcher says Aaron Hernandez’s case of CTE was most severe she’s seen in a young individual

Nov 10, 2017
Defensive back Ronde Barber #20 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers #20 tackles tight end Aaron Hernendez #81 of the New England Patriots at Raymond James Stadium in a pre-season game August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Boston University neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee said the severity of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s brain was the most severe she’s seen in a young individual.

It was announced in September that Hernandez, who killed himself in prison, suffered from Stage 3 CTE, with Stage 4 being the most severe.

McKee said the type of brain damage the 27-year-old Hernandez had was usually found in someone 20 years older.

"This is the first case that we've seen that kind of damage in such a young individual," McKee said, according to CNN.

McKee and the team at Boston University released a study in July alongside the VA Boston Healthcare System that found CTE in the brains of 99 percent of former NFL players whose brains had been donated by their families after their deaths. 

In the 202 brains of those who played football on all levels, the study found CTE in 177.

McKee said the parts of Hernandez’s brain that were affected were areas controling memory, judgement and emotion, however, McKee said she couldn’t conclude that the CTE was the causation for his behavior.