The Boston researcher who examined the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez says it showed the most damage her team had seen in an athlete so young

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The brain damage was so severe that scientists all but gasped. Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was convicted of murder, killed himself in prison in April at age 27. An autopsy revealed that he had brain injuries akin to those seen in afflicted former players in their 60s, researchers announced on Thursday

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Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end and a convicted murderer, was 27 when he committed suicide in April. Yet a posthumous examination of his brain showed he had such a severe form of the degenerative brain disease C.T.E. that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s

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With several of its marquee players retiring early after a cascade of frightening concussions, the NFL formed a committee in 1994 that would ultimately issue a succession of research papers playing down the danger of head injuries. Now, an investigation by The New York Times has found that the NFL’s concussion research was far more flawed than previously known

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Before spending the money, the foundation must reach “mutual agreement” with the NIH and its donors — including the NFL — on the “research concepts” that will be addressed, as well as on “timeline, budget, and specific milestones to accomplish the research,” according to a signed agreement obtained by STAT

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The league, which in 2012 pledged $30 million to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health for the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy is not funding any part of this research

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