A study published in the Neurosurgery journal in July 2005 proved numerous blows to head can cause a brain injury known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This condition has been found in athletes from many sports that involve hitting or head-on collisions, particularly football and ice hockey. Over 100 deceased football players have been posthumously diagnosed with CTE.
Aaron Hernandez was a former NFL player for the New England Patriots. He was convicted of murder, and in April of this year, he committed suicide in his jail cell. Researchers performed an autopsy on Hernandez in early November and were very surprised with the results. His brain was severely damaged giving him a brain like a man in his late 60’s when he’s only 27.A brain that has CTE will look smaller and contain either holes or cracks in it. Someone at a young age with CTE will have a brain equivalent to an elderly person. The results of his autopsy were released a couple of weeks ago from the Boston University. Scientists were surprised with his results and found that his results and found his brain shrunk and cracking and tearing apart. His brain was equivalent to an elderly person’s brain.
CTE can cause dementia, mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts and very aggressive behavior towards others. This has been cited as a factor in many cases where football players commit suicide, murder or act aggressively to friends, family and others. It is speculated that OJ Simpson may have CTE. However, because the disease can only be diagnosed by autopsy we will not know until he passes and only if his brain is donated to science.
The first American football player to have been diagnosed with CTE was Mike Webster. The diagnosis was made in 2005 by a pathologist named Bennet Omalu. After the discovery the Concussion Legacy Foundation was founded with the University of Boston trying to understand more about the disease. One hundred and two brains of former football players have been donated by their families after their death. CTE has been discovered in 101 of those brains. It is estimated that 28% of the NFL players will get CTE.
Aaron Hernandez family hired a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the NFL for the grief it has caused the family. It will be a difficult battle because the NFL is the most powerful sports league in the United States. Every Sunday millions of people watch football. If parents stop allowing their kids to play football because of the risk of CTE the league is in real risk of diminishing.
As said in the movie Concussion, “The NFL owns a day of the week! Sunday used to belong to God now it belongs to the NFL.”