The doctor who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease better known as CTE, is convinced that the condition is what drove former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to take his own life.
Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins filed a lawsuit against the Patriots and the NFL on Thursday, claiming the former tight end had a severe form of CTE and the league and team did nothing to protect him from it. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who discovered CTE and inspired the film “Concussion,” told TMZ on Friday that he has no doubt the brain disease drove Hernandez to suicide.
“There is no question in my mind that CTE drove Aaron Hernandez to suicide and other criminal and violent behavior,” Omalu said. “If you read my book ‘Truth Doesn’t Have a Side’ you will encounter the Chapter titled ‘I bet my license OJ Simpson Has CTE,’ therefore, it should not be surprising that Aaron Hernandez eventually committed suicide.”
Omalu feels Hernandez’s family has a good chance to win the case and hopes it will lead to less children playing contact sports.
“I am yet to examine the brain of professional football player who does not have CTE or other forms of brain damage,” Omalu said. “And we have always known for centuries that if you suffer forceful and/or repetitive blows to your head in whatever human activity, you will suffer brain damage.
“If a child plays football, there is a 100 percent risk exposure to brain damage. No child under the age of 18 in today’s America should be playing any of the high-impact, high-contact sports, and the big six are football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, rugby, boxing and wrestling. … Let us keep our children healthy and make them play only non-contact sports.”
If you remember, Omalu praised Tom Brady’s wife Gisele after she seemed to reveal that the four-time Super Bowl MVP has suffered multiple concussions throughout his career.
Jenkins is seeking compensation for being deprived of Hernandez’s presence.