Sports | September 23, 2017 5:00 am

One Neurologist May Hold the Key to Diagnosing CTE in Live Patients

Breakthrough by an Alzheimer's researcher could help the NFL treat brain trauma.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots star tight end, who was charged with murder, sent to prison, and then committed suicide, was suffering from a severe case of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopahty (CTE).

Now comes a report from The Atlantic that could’ve diagnosed his ailment earlier and maybe prevented his death. Sam Gandy, a neurologist and Alzheimer’s researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, may have found a way to detect CTE in living patients’ brain scans.

Up until now, CTE has only been diagnosed post-mortem—and, in addition, the diagnosis had necessitated comprehensive autopsies or that the body be donated to science like Hernandez’s was.

But after Gandy performed tests on the brain of the still-living 73-year-old former New York Jets player, Dave Herman, and found what he believed to be CTE, it’s opened the floodgates for more research and a potential for diagnosing living patients.

Gandy is currently studying the brain of a former NFL player who sustained 22 concussions—and is anonymously quoted in the article—as well as 30 others, including combat veterans and other football players.