The Tragic Brain of Aaron Hernandez


Remember when boxers were referred too as ‘punch drunk’?  There is an amazing play called Requiem for a Heavyweight about such a boxer.  (I was fortunate to see it in Palm Beach with George Segal and John Lithgow.)  The problem was that the world of football was so arrogant, they never did, and many still do not recognize that their brains are ticking time bombs.

“…Dementia pugilistica (DP) is a type of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease with features of dementia. DP may affect amateur or professional boxers, wrestlers as well as athletes in other sports who suffer concussions. It is also called chronic boxer’s encephalopathy, traumatic boxer’s encephalopathy, boxer’s dementia, pugilistic dementia, chronic traumatic brain injury associated with boxing (CTBI-B), and punch-drunk syndrome. DP was historically considered equivalent to CTE but is now considered a subtype of CTE.

The condition is caused by repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows (blows that are below the threshold of force necessary to cause concussion), or both. Because of the concern that boxing may cause DP, there is a movement among medical professionals to ban the sport. Medical professionals have called for such a ban since as early as the 1950s. Symptoms and signs of DP develop progressively over a long latent period sometimes amounting to decades, with the average time of onset being about 12 to 16 years after the start of a career in boxing…”

The same thing is happening in football.  Earlier this week, Bob Costas authored a piece in which he states that the dangers of this horrific disease, which is completely avoidable, is in the process of completely destroying professional football.  This is something I’ve been saying for several years now.

NY Daily News

Now we discover that the brain of former NFL ‘monster’ Aaron Hernandez was a worse case scenario.

Boston Herald

In other words – the man’s brain was so damaged, we will never know if the horrific things he did was because of who he was, or because of the brain damage.

“…“In any individual, we can’t take the pathology and explain the behavior,” said Dr. Ann McKee director of the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center and chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System. “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.”…”

It is rather damning.  Like Bob Costas wrote, we will soon be reaching a point where no parent in their right mind is going to allow their child to play football.