Former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's brain was severely damaged by CTE, Boston University researcher Dr. Ann McKee said Thursday. The damage is known to cause aggression and affect decision-making and memory.
"In any individual, we can't take the pathology and explain the behavior," said McKee, the director of BU's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, reports the Boston Herald.
"But we can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE and CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision making, inhibition or impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behavior," she added.
In her presentation of the post-mortem pathology results, McKee said his brain shows surprising tissue loss that's usually seen in brains from men at least 20 years older.
"These are very unusual findings for someone so young," McKee said.
However, McKee said she couldn't "connect the dots" between CTE and Hernandez's violent behavior, reports the Associated Press.
"We can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE -- and CTE of this severity -- have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, inhibition of impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behaviors," McKee explained.
The 27-year-old football star killed himself in April 2017, days before his former team celebrated their latest Super Bowl victory at the White House. He was convicted in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and was acquitted of the double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Since Hernandez died while appealing his conviction on the 2013 murder, his conviction was vacated by a Massachusetts judge.0comments
CTE is a condition linked to severe head trauma and has only been diagnosed in an autopsy. BU researchers said in September that Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE.
"These are very unusual findings to see in an individual of this age," McKee said. "We've never seen this in our 468 brains, except in individuals some 20 years older."