In Brief

Former NFL star accused of murder had ‘severe’ brain disease

The family of Aaron Hernandez file lawsuit against his team and the sport’s governing body

A former American footballer who took his own life in prison in April this year had a “severe case” of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease associated with head injury, according to his family’s lawyer. 

The disease has been “found in 99% of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to scientific research,” CNN reports.

Aaron Hernandez, who played for the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2013, was found hanging in his cell in a Massachusetts prison, five days after being acquitted of a double murder.

He was serving a life sentence without parole for the 2013 murder of semi-professional footballer Odin Lloyd.

“The neurodegenerative brain disease has Alzheimer's-like symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, aggression, rage and, at times, suicidal behaviour,” CNN reports.

“Researchers at Boston University, which studies the progressive degenerative disease that is found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, found Hernandez's brain to be at ‘an advanced stage’ of CTE,” says the BBC.

The revelation was made by lawyer Jose Baez, while filing a lawsuit against both the New England Patriots and the NFL on behalf of Hernandez's daughter, seeking £14.7m in damages.

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