By Dan Golon ‘20

The long awaited life story of the late Aaron Hernandez debuted this past month.

The three-part documentary includes extremely private details about his early life and the events eventually leading up to the murder he was found guilty of committing and his death in prison.

The tragic story is causing football players across the globe to reflect woefully about their health as a result of football. Although never explicitly stated in the films, Aaron’s decisions were believed to be under great influence from his neurodegenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Frequently seen among NFL veterans, CTE is caused as a result of repeated head trauma. Whether they admit it or not, fans and players everywhere are becoming increasingly worried about the health risks of the game.

Aaron’s story just happens to be one among many of the tragic stories possibly stemming from a diagnosis of CTE. Aside from CTE, several other factors are believed to have influenced his life to reach his breaking point, and the documentary does a very poor job of defining it.

The cause may have been the constant demands Aaron faced from his very strict and tough father, but his father also tragically passed away when Aaron was 16 years old, perhaps leaving a lasting impact.

He may have been negatively influenced by his mother, who guilt called him in prison to ask for $1 million of the $40 million contract he had just signed with the New England Patriots.

He may have been the victim of getting involved with the wrong crowd, he may have been doing drugs, and maybe the Patriots handled his personal life problems the wrong way.

Although everyone would like to have a definitive answer, the sad truth is that it was probably a combination of all of them. Aaron had everything he could ask for, and it was violently ripped away from him as a result of his poor lifestyle.

Although we may never know the truth, the true point is for those who watch the documentary to adopt a new respect for self-responsibility. Remember that Aaron Hernandez was living the life –  he had it all. Even with a $40 million contract, you are not safe from poor decisions; treat your body like a temple and keep relationships with good people.