The details are sobering, the ramifications could be menacing.
The lawyer for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez says the NFLer’s brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Attorney Jose Baez says “it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age.” Hernandez was only 27 when he killed himself in April in the jail cell where he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder.
Baez now says Hernandez’s daughter is suing the National Football League and the Patriots for $20 million for leading Hernandez to believe the sport was safe and depriving Avielle Hernandez of the companionship of her father.
CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy and can be caused by repeated head trauma, the effects of which are devastating: depression, memory loss, violent mood swings and suicidal thoughts.
This lawsuit has settlement written all over it.
What is the NFL’s defence? The league won’t admit that the game is unsafe and it has already forked over $1 billion in a separate settlement with families of players who suffered brain damage.
On the flip side, no one forced Hernandez to play football. It was his choice, knowing the violent game that it is, comes with inherent risk.
If anything, this will make more parents think twice about putting their children in football.