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Autopsy: Former football star had advanced brain disease

Most of our readers know something of the disturbing and tragic story of former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez. The one-time New England Patriot was serving a life sentence for murder when he committed suicide in prison earlier this year. He was just 27.

Now, perhaps not surprisingly, an autopsy revealed that the former tight end was in the advanced stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died. According to the head of Boston University's CTE Center, the former NFL star was in the third out of four stages of the disease.

His attorney, who is filing a lawsuit against Hernandez's former team and the NFL, says, "We're told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron's age." This is not the first lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of players (both dead and alive) who suffered serious and debilitating brain injuries.

The NFL is already paying $1 billion to settle the suit that accused the league of not doing enough to protect players from brain trauma. The lawsuit filed by Hernandez's attorney also contends that "defendants concealed and misrepresented the risks of repeated traumatic head impacts."

Hernandez's potential for CTE (which can only be conclusively diagnosed in an autopsy) was not brought up during his trials for the murders of three men. He was acquitted for the killings of two of them shortly before he killed himself. Whether his CTE contributed to his actions may never be known.

Likewise, the full impact of a brain injury on a person may never be fully known. It can impact them in many ways for the rest of their lives. That's why if you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to the actions or negligence of another person or entity, it's essential to find out what your legal options are here in West Virginia for seeking compensation to help cover medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

Source: ESPN, "Advanced stages of CTE found in Aaron Hernandez's brain," Sep. 22, 2017

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