After Aaron Hernandez passed in 2017, autopsies have revealed that he suffered from stage III of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease common in athletes or anyone who has a history of repetitive brain trauma. The post-mortem autopsy revealed stage III CTE, a disease usually seen in former players with an average age of 67 years old, yet Hernandez was only 27 at the time of his demise.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 99% of NFL stars who suffered multiple brain injuries during their careers showed signs of CTE. The study also found a correlation between CTE and significant behavioral or emotional malfunctions, often present throughout the lifetime of the person diagnosed with CTE.
The Hernandez family filed a lawsuit against the NFL and New England Patriots alleging the NFL was "fully aware of the damage that could be inflicted from repetitive impact injuries and failed to disclose, treat or protect him from the dangers of such damage." And though Hernandez is responsible for taking Odin Lloyd's life in 2015, perhaps they both could have been protected had Hernandez's disorder been properly treated.