Researchers to look for signs of CTE in Aaron Hernandez's brain

News notes that the attorney of the former National Football League star's family accused the chief state medical examiner of "illegally" withholding Aaron's brain.

Hernandez was found hanging in his prison cell, with a bedsheet around his neck, early Wednesday morning.

Hernandez was a rising star with a $40 million contract with the Patriots when, in 2013, he was accused of killing a friend, Odin Lloyd, after an argument at a nightclub.

After a brief public dispute between MA authorities and Hernandez's family, the former Patriots tight end's brain was released to BU's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

With concern over the impact that repeated blows to the head can cause National Football League players and brain examination only possible after death, the Hernandez family wanted his brain to be studied.

A judge on Friday ordered key evidence in the prison suicide of Aaron Hernandez preserved, granting a request from the ex-NFL star's fiancee so the family can investigate the circumstances of his death. Just five days earlier, a jury had acquitted the 27-year-old in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men.

Investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in his cell, according to the statement, which did not detail the contents of the notes.

Sources told the paper that an investigation had been launched to find out if Hernandez had somehow gotten hold of a synthetic marijuana called K2 on Tuesday night. CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is a disease often found in the brains of athletes who have sustained head traumas. Now that the chief medical examiner has determined the cause of death, however, the brain of Hernandez is no longer being fought over.

The state's chief medical examiner, Dr. Henry N. Nields, performed an autopsy on Hernandez on Wednesday and determined the cause of death was asphyxia by hanging, the release said.

He was rushed to the hospital at 3:05 a.m., but was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.

Doctors say those afflicted by it can suffer memory loss, impeded speech and disorientation, and possibly become more susceptible to suicide.

Furthermore, Boston's WHDH is reporting that at least one DOC officer could be facing discipline for Hernandez's suicide. It says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life".

  • Julie Sanders