NFL officials rarely wants to address the issues of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), but a new lawsuit brought against the organization by Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, fiance of the late pro football player Aaron Hernandez, may force the conversation.
On Thursday, Jenkins-Hernandez reportedly announced that she believes her former fiance, an NFL star and convicted felon, killed himself as a result of C.T.E. She’s now suing the New England Patriots and the NFL for keeping Hernandez uninformed about the disease and its impact. The effects of C.T.E., a degenerative brain disease whose acronym stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is one of the most controversial topics in professional sports today. Studies have shown that the repeated head injuries that are common in football and boxing can lead to C.T.E. among athletes, with some even calling for a ban on football due to the associated risks. Obviously, that has the league shook.
According to TMZ the suit reportedly claims, “Aaron had stage 3 CTE, usually seen in players with a median age of death of 67 years.” She also claims that the NFL and the Patriots knew about the link between CTE and suicidal impulses and failed to share that information with Hernandez, who ended his own life while in prison this past April. She added that the team and league “were 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.”
Jenkins-Hernandez and her daughter are seeking “redress for the loss of parental consortium she has experienced based on the negligent conduct of Defendants that deprived her of the companionship and society of her father, Aaron Hernandez.” The suit added, “On April 19, 2017, Aaron succumbed to the symptoms of CTE and committed suicide.”
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for murder when he took his own life in the Souza-Baranowski prison in Lancaster, Mass. It sounds like there are many factors at play when it comes to dissecting the reason for his suicide, and it’s looking like they will be all hashed out in court if this lawsuit moves forward.