• Kim Hayes

Aaron Hernandez - A Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Tragedy

The two Aaron Hernandez docuseries on Oxygen and Netflix were both tragic and very eye opening to the fact extensive Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) can occur at a relatively young age. The NFL Players who had committed suicide and asked that their brains be tested were much older and had played longer than Hernandez. At the time they played, it was the norm for players to play through concussions. No post-recovery protocols existed to protect their brains. The protective equipment was not as advanced at it is now, so the results of their extensive CTE damage was not surprising.

Concussion recovery protocols have been in place for some time, so Hernandez would have had that benefit when he played at the University of Florida and in the NFL. In addition, equipment and training protocols/rules to protect the players have continued to improve. Nevertheless, the CTE pathologist who examined Hernandez' brain advised the CTE damage was the worst she had ever encountered for a brain that was only 27 years old. Hernandez had stopped playing at the age of 23, when he was arrested, so when his brain was examined, he hadn't encountered any additional impact injuries to the brain in the four years prior to his death.

The Aaron Hernandez story is tragic - many lives were destroyed, including his own. Had he not had that level of CTE damage, would his life have turned out differently? Would those tragedies been avoided altogether? We will never know, but I would like to think if Hernandez had not experienced the severe level of brain damage he did, his life would have turned out differently.

Studies have shown concussion-like symptoms and damage to the brain can occur even if a player did not suffer an actual impact injury to the head. Thankfully, there is something available to help athletes remain as healthy as possible. I'll be sharing information about how Visi's AC2 Technology Collagen Protein and Immuniti can help athletes proactively protect their brains.

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