THIS JUST IN: The results of a post-mortem study on Aaron Hernandez’s brain were just released this morning and Dr. Ann McKee’s team at Boston University disclosed that he had advanced Stage 3 CTE. Stage 3 is typically found in much older players in their 60’s and 70’s so this discovery is alarming. Hernandez had apparently committed suicide this past April in his jail cell where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of his friend, Odin Lloyd, in 2013.
I’ve had an ongoing discussion with many players as well as brain doctors regarding links between sociopathy and football. So many players drift into sociopathic behavior as their front lobes sustain the greatest damage from sustained hits over their careers. And we’ve also heard about erratic behavior from all too many players’ spouses and families about the changes in their personalities and the effects on their daily lives.
Hernandez’s fiancée is filing a lawsuit against the NFL and the Patriots on behalf of their young daughter and this case may bring some new twists to how CTE is viewed. Many of Hernandez’s former teammates as well as old friends have discussed his violent nature even as a young child, while others have pointed out that he had wanted to play football since the age of 3.
A few of you have had side discussions with me about the prevalence of sociopaths at all levels of football from rookies to stars, along with coaches and owners. It’s estimated that sociopaths make up 4% of our general population in society but naturally there are many professions and occupations that will certainly appeal to them more than others (think cops, lawyers, judges, CEOs). It’s always about power and control. And money. For a football player, where else could you get the attention and glory from large crowds for violent behavior? And does anyone believe that only 4% of all the billionaires in the world are sociopaths? And how about coaches who control and direct the actions of these men on the field? While I’m not saying that all football players are sociopaths, does anyone doubt that many are in the game for the glory of their violent behavior. But for many players, the accumulation of concussions and constant hits both in practice and on the field eventually lead to permanent damage to the brain, especially to the front lobe, as shown in Dr. Amen’s study from nearly 8 years ago (you can read Dr Amen’s observations on Huffington Post – click HERE) , followed by the ongoing CTE studies. And when the front lobe is less functional, your common sense and good judgment will either be impaired or – in many cases – no longer working. Which, for many family members, finally starts to make sense. We’ve even posted many strange stories here over the years.
So you have the NFL with sociopaths at every level from players to coaches to owners. Then you have other players who evolve into sociopathic behavior because of brain injuries, much to the bewilderment of those closest to them. And you add the millions of fans who couldn’t care less because of their love of the game which has now become a $15 billion industry today. And that’s not counting the gambling industry which is conservatively estimated to be well over $100 billion in football alone.
Does any of this start to make sense for some of you? Is this a discussion that needs to be expanded? And some of my closest friends in the football community are well aware of two sociopaths who have also tried to take me out of this battle for the retired players…