Professional football is a game where men get together and play a tough sport where testosterone rules supreme. Nevertheless, testosterone cannot be blamed for violent Crime committed by NFL players. When Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times and then shot himself at the Chiefs' practice facility next toArrowhead Stadium on 1 December 2012, it was established later that his blood alcohol levels were more than double the legal limit.

It would be easy enough to say that he had an explosive relationship with his girlfriend, doubted the paternity of their child, and that alcohol-induced rage made him shoot her. It was a full two years later that ESPN reported Belcher was found to have CTE after he was exhumed and his brain was examined.

CTE.

CTE is commonly known as being punch drunk. It is a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head.

Whilst CTE can only be diagnosed after death, there are some symptoms that might make a medical professional suspect CTE. These are progressive behavioural patterns that start with dizziness and exhibit later as social instability, erratic behaviour,and possibly suicide. CTE is not confined to older players – the youngest death by CTE was 17-year old Nathan Stiles who died after a blow to the head during a Football match.

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Diagnosis.

Research carried out by the Brain Injury Research Institute showed that by the time Belcher killed himself, 33 former NFL players had been diagnosed with CTE post mortem. There are at least three NFL football players currently serving life without parole for first degree murder. All of them displayed erratic behaviour and social instability before they were convicted. The possibility of suffering from CTE should not be ruled out. Until there is a way to fully diagnose CTE whilst players are still alive, player potential for violent crime is very difficult to anticipate.

Anthony Smith.

Anthony Smith was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the NFL draft following a college football career. The defensive end was charged with murder11 years after his football career ended. However, Reuters reported that he was found guilty of serial killings; the first one taking place just two years after his football career ended. He was involved in kidnapping two brothers at a car wash who were later shot and killed. In 2001 another man, Dennis Henderson was kidnapped and later stabbed to death.

Eric Naposki.

Eric Andrew Naposki, played professional football for the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Barcelona Dragons between 1988 and 1997. He is serving life without parole but is still fighting to get out of jail and has always maintained his innocence. The case involved the contract killing of a wealthy man 15 years before his arrest in 2009. Eric was romantically involved with Nanette Johnson who was living with Bill McLaughlin in Newport Beach. McLaughlin was reportedly shot by Eric so that Nanette could claim his life insurance.

Aaron Hernandez.

Aaron Josef Hernandez was a tight end playing for the New England Patriots. He played football all through high school, and by the time he was a teenager, he was often involved in street fights, petty larceny and assault. His mother credited this behaviour to the loss of his father, but whilst he later settled down his crimes were completely antisocial. They started with an assault on a restaurant employee in 2007, which was settled out of court, and involved a string of shooting incidents which culminated in his indictment for murder. In 2012 Aaron was investigated for his part in the murder of Daniel Jorge de Abreu and Safiro Furtado who were shot in their vehicle. In 2013 he was implicated in an attempted murder on a friend who lost his eye after being shot. Later, Odin Lloyd, another friend of Aaron was found shot in the back and chest. Aaron was arrested and the murders saw him sentenced to life without parole.

Big boys gone bad or CTE – what do you think?

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