Aaron Hernandez's chronic traumatic encephalopathy diagnosis was made public Thursday (Sept. 22), showing a strong case of the disease.
ESPN reports Jose Baez, the attorney for the former New England Patriots told reporters during the news conference the 27-year-old had Stage 3 CTE. Evidence of the disease was discovered by Bennet Omalu in 2005 and later revealed in several study findings. Just last year, a study from the Boston University and the Boston Veterans Affairs found 110 out of 111 brains of deceased NFL players had CTE.
"We're told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron's age," Baez said.
Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, added Hernandez's cognitive disorders could be linked to the disease.CTE can only be tested only after the person is deceased. The family plans to file legal action against the NFL for not bringing more attention to the disorder in the league.
"Defendants were fully aware of the dangers of exposing NFL players, such as Aaron, to repeated traumatic head impacts," the lawsuit said. "Yet, defendants concealed and misrepresented the risks of repeated traumatic head impacts."
CTE was never brought up during Hernandez's murder trial for the 2013 first-degree murder of his friend Odin Lloyd. "When hindsight is 20-20, you look back and there are things you might have noticed," he Baez added. "But you don't know."
Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell after hanging himself with a bed sheet. Days before he died he was acquitted of an unrelated July 2012 double murder.
The disease has been connected military personnel and athletes outside the NFL like BMX legend Dave Mira.