Hernandez Lawsuit Cites Negligence by NFL and New England Patriots
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento brain injury lawyer. It was announced that a lawsuit is being filed by the daughter of former tight end for the New England Patriots, Aaron Hernandez. The former ball player committed suicide in his jail cell in April at age 27. The lawsuit is also being filed against the National Football League. Hernandez had been sentenced to life in prison in Massachusetts in 2013 for the first-degree murder of his sister’s fiance. During the trial, Hernandez was charged with two additional counts of murder but was acquitted in 2017.
Autopsy Results Point to Severe Brain Damage
Following Hernandez’s death, his brain was donated to researchers at Boston University to be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This type of brain damage has been linked to repeated head trauma. It has been known to cause depression, cognitive difficulties and violent changes in mood. It can only be diagnosed during autopsy. In fact, of the four stages attributable to CTE, Hernandez was said to be in stage 3. The degradation found in Hernandez’s brain would be expected in a football player in his mid-sixties. According to the researchers, they had never seen a brain as damaged as that of Hernandez in someone his age. Hernandez joins a list of more than 100 former football players who were diagnosed with the disease.
Other NFL Players With CTE Have Committed Suicide
Hernandez joins a long list of former NFL players who have ended their lives through suicide and upon autopsy were found to be suffering from CTE. Two players, Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, reportedly committed suicide in a manner that would not injure their brains, so the brain tissue could be studied.
Neuropathology of CTE
CTE belongs to a class of neurodegenerative diseases where defective tau proteins cause brain damage. Generally, the protein tau exists in the brain stabilizing structures known as microtubules. This is done through a process known as phosphorylation. When this process is disrupted, tau becomes deformed and forms tangles that interfere with transportation of nutrients in the brain, causing brain cells to die. Tau tangles are found in the brain of both Alzheimer’s patients and those with CTE. Another substance called amyloid plaque is also involved in the pathology of CTE. Plaque is the buildup of the sticky form of amyloid protein and is found in brains of those with CTE.
Teenage Football Players Show Damage Later
In another study at Boston University, researchers have found that playing tackle football before the age of 12 leads to enhanced behavioral and thought process problems in adulthood. After age 10, a child’s brain grows exponentially, so damage from tackle football can have an enormous effect. The number of young tackle football players has dropped in recent years due to parental concerns. Hernandez began playing football early in life, leading researchers to question a link to the extent of CTE found when his brain was examined.
The Hernandez Lawsuit
The lawsuit filed against the NFL and The New England Patriots (the defendants) by Hernandez’s daughter says that the football league and the team knew that CTE was common among football players and that Hernandez was not warned of the consequences of playing football. This negligent conduct, the lawsuit claims, led to the development of stage III CTE. In addition, Hernandez was examined by medical doctors routinely, and there should have been an indication that his condition was deteriorating from 2010 to 2013. Since the defendants failed to uphold their duty of care by not telling Hernandez about the risk continued playing involved and allowing him to experience repeated head trauma leading directly to Hernandez’s death by suicide, the lawsuit is asking for $20 million in damages due to the loss of parental care his daughter was denied.
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Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento brain injury lawyer. Family members can be denied the presence of a loved one who helped them emotionally and financially due to the negligent actions of another person. As the effect of CTE on football players, both seasoned and those under the age of 12, becomes better understood, the problems of traumatic head injury from any source, including a slip and fall or a car accident, are highlighted. If you have experienced a traumatic head injury or if a member of your family has died, call me for friendly advice that is free of charge. You can reach me at (916) 921-6400. My toll-free number is (800) 404-5400 if you are outside the calling area.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/football-runner-ball-fight-560473/
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