Aaron Hernandez’s family has decided to donate his brain to medical researchers, his lawyer, Jose Baez, said at a press conference Thursday.
The Hernandez family would like the brain to go to Boston University’s CTE research project, but Baez alleges that the medical examiner is “illegally retaining possession” of the brain. The medical examiner's office wanted to prepare the brain for study and initially declined to turn it over to Boston University, according to Reuters.
After the cause and manner of death was determined on Thursday — a suicide — it was announced that Hernandez’s brain will be released to Boston University’s CTE center.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. It has been diagnosed in NFL players, NHL players and professional wrestlers. The disease, which symptoms include memory loss, mood swings and violent behavior, can only be diagnosed after a person’s death.
Hernandez was found early Wednesday morning hung in his jail cell at Souza Correctional Center in Massachusetts, where he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He was found not guilty last week in the 2012 double murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.