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Aaron Hernandez's Brain Suffered Severe Damage From CTE, Doctor Says

From TIME - November 9, 2017

(BOSTON)Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez suffered severe damage to parts of the brain that play an important role in memory, impulse control and behavior, a researcher who studied his brain said Thursday.

Dr. Ann McKee, director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said she could not connect the dots between Hernandezs severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is linked to repeated blows to the head, and his behavior. The 27-year-old hanged himself in April, while serving life in prison for murder.

But McKee said she says Hernandez experienced substantial damage to key parts of the brain, including the hippocampuswhich is important to memoryand the frontal lobe, which is involved in problem solving, judgment and behavior.

In any individual we cant take the pathology and explain the behavior, said McKee, who has studied hundreds of brains from football players, college athletes and even younger players, donated after their deaths. But we can say collectively, in our collective experience, individuals with CTEand CTE of this severityhave difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, inhibition of impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behaviors, she said.

Hernandez hanged himself in prison days after he was acquitted in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men in Boston and just hours before his former teammates visited the White House to celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory.

Prosecutors claimed he gunned the two men down after one accidentally spilled a drink on him in a nightcluband then got a tattoo of a handgun and the words God Forgives to commemorate the crime.

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