A new Netflix documentary promises a look inside Aaron Hernández’s mind.
Any look inside the former closed wing of the New England Patriots who was convicted of murder and then committed suicide will undoubtedly deepen the issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
After his death at age 27, Hernandez was diagnosed with CTE Stage 3 by doctors at the Boston University CTE Center, which studies repetitive head trauma in athletes and military personnel.
The center recently studied the brain of former USC defensive defender Kevin Ellison after his death in October 2018. Nathan Fenno of the Times plunged deeply into the process the team used before determining that Ellison had Stage 2 CTE.
The brain is sectioned with a tool that resembles a sliced coronal bread knife about a third of an inch thick.
“Each cut reveals a new piece of the puzzle,” Fenno wrote. Has the frontal lobe shrunk? Are the ventricles enlarged? Álvarez places each one on a black sheet and the photograph.
Part of the tissue is finally placed on glass slides, allowing researchers to examine areas such as the olfactory bulb, where dark tangles of tau protein, the toxic seal of CTE, are often seen; the black substance, which helps control muscle movement; and the upper frontal cortex, an important area for executive function and emotions.
“Each clue brings McKee closer to another response for another grieving family,” Fenno wrote.
“Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” premiered on Wednesday.