Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was found to have Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy by Boston University researchers, had only one documented concussion in his three-year NFL career, according to a Globe review of Patriots injury reports.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010-12, appeared on their weekly report 26 times for injuries over those three seasons. But only one of those injuries was listed as a concussion — before the AFC Championship game against the Ravens in January 2012. His other ailments included hip, knee, and ankle injuries, and a case of the flu.
Hernandez suffered what media reports described as a “minor” concussion in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ divisional round playoff win over the Broncos. Hernandez, who had five rushes for 61 yards and a touchdown that game, suffered the concussion on his final carry of the day, a 2-yard run. Denver linebacker Joe Mays provided the hit, and Hernandez left the game and did not return.
Hernandez was listed on the injury report the following week, but he did not miss a practice, though he was listed as “limited” all week. Hernandez then played all 83 of the Patriots’ offensive snaps against the Ravens.
Hernandez briefly addressed reporters in the locker room in the week leading up to the Ravens game and indicated he was OK.
“I just do what the coaches ask me,” Hernandez said at the time. “They put me in positions to try and make plays, help the team, and make it to the big game.”
Hernandez did not suffer a documented concussion in his three years at the University of Florida. The university was not required to provide an injury report before games. Hernandez played in 40 of 41 games while at Florida, missing only the 2008 season opener because he reportedly failed a drug test for marijuana.
Hernandez, who committed suicide in prison this year, two years after being found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd, was found to have Stage 3 CTE by Dr. Ann McKee, a professor of pathology and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and the director of BU’s CTE Center and Chief of Neuropathology at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. Stage 4 is the highest level of CTE.
The findings were released Thursday as part of a $20 million lawsuit against the Patriots and the NFL filed on behalf of Hernandez’s daughter.
Follow Ben Volin on Twitter at @BenVolin.