Jose Baez, the attorney for Aaron Hernandez, said Hernandez’s family wants his brain donated to Boston University for a study on the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE.
The issue, Baez said, is there is now a battle over Hernandez’s brain. (UPDATE: Authorities ruled Hernandez’s death a suicide on Thursday evening and in wrapping up the investigation, said they would release Hernandez’s brain to the family so it can have it taken to Boston University for tests.)
Baez said the family planned to donate Hernandez’s brain to Boston University, and the school was to pick up his brain on Thursday morning. Boston University has been at the forefront of CTE research on former football players’ brains. But the Massachusetts state medical examiner’s office would not allow Hernandez’s brain to be given to BU, according to Baez.
Baez said the examiner’s office is keeping Hernandez’s brain illegally and he planned to take the matter to court. The former New England Patriots tight end was found dead in his prison cell on Wednesday morning.
“Why the Boston medical examiner’s office decided to be a CTE unit, I don’t know,” Baez said in a news conference that was streamed on multiple outlets, including NBC Connecticut.
Baez said he planned to file a protective order on the matter, and ask for an emergency hearing.
Baez said the decision by the medical examiner’s office came right before Hernandez’s brain was to be given to his family and then donated.
“At the last minute, they decided that was not something they’re going to do,” Baez said. “They don’t even know what they’re doing; they can’t get out of their own way. That concerns us.”
Baez would not answer any questions about Hernandez’s death, insisting that reporters ask only about the issue of the family wanting to donate Hernandez’s brain for CTE study.
Later Thursday afternoon, the examiner’s office said it needs Hernandez’s body for its investigation and it won’t stand in the way of the Hernandez family giving his brain to Boston University.
— Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovernJr) April 20, 2017
Baez said he does not want the examiner’s office studying Hernandez’s brain.
“I have serious questions about their ability to conduct this study,” Baez said.
Hernandez was found dead in his cell as the result of an apparent suicide. Because of widely publicized researching showing a connection between football and the degenerative brain disease CTE, it isn’t surprising the lawyer and the family wants to see if Hernandez was suffering from CTE.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013.
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