Hernandez: The Brain That Would Not Die

DATELINE: Examining Aaron’s Brain

brain slices

Like a murderous zombie, Aaron Hernandez comes back repeatedly from death.

The latest news story deals with the findings of another pathologist Dr. Anne McKee, head of the Boston University CTE Center, who makes the case that the damage done to the New England football player by repeated concussions is enough to create a Frankenstein’s Monster.

The apparent shrunken and withered frontal lobes to his brain were even worse than originally feared. They had never seen anything quite like it in the brain of a 27-year old physically healthy young man.

There is no doubt that Aaron Hernandez had a magnificent body, well-taken care of. He had no idea that it encased the worst case of damaged goods you could find in the NFL.

Roger Goodell and his partners in crime ought to be cringing.

When doctors reveal it is the most severe trauma they’ve ever seen, you have reason to be freaked out. Those three murders may well have been the result of a mind that had no control over his impulses. He could not make decisions in any normal manner. He suffered a lack of judgment that had nothing to do with his intelligence.

Knowing he felt smart, Hernandez must have been repeatedly puzzled and baffled by his own twisted logic. Doctors insist they have never seen such a condition in anyone under 46 years of age. That is scary.

The doctor said: “…we can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE, and CTE of this severity, have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, inhibition of impulses for aggression, emotional volatility, rage behaviors.

In other words, he was a perfect Type A personality for the NFL. He had the right genetic marker to make him vulnerable to the condition.

Researchers believe he had deteriorated to the level of someone in his 60s, “the most severe case they had ever seen in someone Aaron’s age.”

It makes you wonder what they might have found in the brains of Billy the Kid, Jack the Ripper or Lizzie Borden.

Dare we say it?  We feel sorry for poor Aaron Hernandez.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Lamentations on the Loss of Gordon Hayward

DATELINE:  Hard Break for Celtics

 GH

Gordon Hayward came to Boston to play for the Celtics. He was a superstar ready to write his Destiny today in big letters. Instead, five minutes into his Celtics career, Destiny wrote him off.

If ever you wanted a lesson in how ephemeral are the superstars of sports, this abject lesson is a horror story. Gordon Hayward went down in a senseless act of the cosmos and its mystery waves.

But as terrible, gruesome, and awful is the injury to Gordon Hayward, it’s not as bad as what happened to Len Bias, the Celtics hope of the future so many years ago in the aftermath of the Bird years.

Bias died of a drug overdose that caused a heart attack. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Does it matter? He was an unproven talent.

Unlike Len Bias, Hayward is an established star, not some vague potential. Gordon Hayward will live to play another day.  However, we don’t know how this injury may affect his ability to play at the same level that made him a superstar.

Boston hardly knows him and now may never know him as the new centerpiece of a Big Three to bring more championships to Boston. That dream may have just evaporated five minutes into a new season.

The season will go on for the Celtics. But the heart of players may have gone out with Hayward’s injury. The stomach to move on will settle down.

Grizzled old vets like Al Horford may take the injury of a teammate in such a devastating fashion in stride. It is the nature of the obvious horror that has an impact on the younger players. The Celtics core is young and impressionable. It tells them a message of sobering fright: your days in the sun can be over in a blink, or a twist of an ankle: in the crack of a bone.

Bones can be fragile and can snap like twigs in the wind. There may be no reason that can be discerned as to whom it condemns—and who may escape. The quantum physics of the universe is cruel.

The psychological damage is immeasurable on the psyche of players—and even fans. The tragedy belongs to Gordon Hayward.

Patriots Apply for Sainthood

 DATELINE:  Return to Victory

 botox forever

All of those Fair weather fans of the Patriots Are now worried that their imperfect team is made up of Juggalos or in the vernacular, an Insane Clown Posse.

We fully expect that too many Cooks will be ignored by Tom Brady in the long arduous search to find a replacement for both Julie Edelman and Danny AAA, those over charged batteries of the Patriots offense. As we know, Tom disabled them with his superstitious challenge of breaking a mirror in pre-season.

Now after losing the first game of the season, and ruining the predictions of a perfect 19-0 season, Tom has had to play an entire game in the first quarter against New Orleans Saints.

He threw three touchdowns and scored the second highest first quarter total in his career. Machine Gun Brady could rest on his laurels after that, but his curse continued.

In no short order, he lost Gronk to an alleged groin injury. We gathered from the despair on Gronk’s face that he is worried. We also saw Chris Hogan limp like Walter Brennan to Brady’s John Wayne. On top of that, newcomer Phillip Dorsett may be dubious next week.

So much for mirror challenges.

As far as Tom’s bench, love seat, or throne of honor, he sat alone only briefly. His court jester, Josh, is always thighbone to thighbone with him—and more comfortable in his backup status, Jimmy G sat on the other side of McDaniel.

Who then would take the seat next to the throne with both Julian and Danny out?  We saw that Brandin Cooks tried his luck there, but stayed more than an arm’s length from Tom. He may be whistling in the dark, but he knows Tom can’t be choosy with his receivers dropping like proverbial flies.

On a cheerier note, we saw that in solidarity with Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia, Coach Belichick put a pencil behind his ear to match the nerd look of Patricia. It may be the greatest vote of confidence we have seen this season.

 

 

Ch-ch-changes for Patriots in 2017

DATELINE: So Long, Julie & Jackie

This is not your father’s Patriots. Hell, it isn’t even your Patriots from last year when they won everything.

Before the first real game is played, there have been major shake-ups in optimistic terms or disasters for the downbeaters, all happening in the event known as pre-season games. These have changed the complexion of the offering from Bill Belichick for 2017,

How is this going to give those Patriots improvement?

Only the taste of the real season shall tell us whether the alterations, both deliberate and fateful, have sent the team in the right direction.

Over the course of two weeks, two major factor players seemed to have bitten the dust. The foremost of these is Tom Brady’s Mini-me, Julian Edelman, the little nut gatherer who walks in Tom’s Shadow and feels like Peter Pan’s penumbra.

Edelman suffered a freakish ACL tear, apparently for no reason except that his leg wanted to go in a different direction. These medical messes are always year-long, life-altering events. Whether Edelman will return to the Patriots at age 32, ready to go, or whether the Patriots will be ready to let him go, only next pre-season will tell.

So, Brady’s go-to guy has gone bye-bye.

Also losing his kneecap to the pressure cooker of the game is Cyrus Jones, looking to recoup his reputation. It now would seem he may regain form, as he is young, next year, but his tenure with the Patriots may be at a standstill.

Then, came the end of pre-season shocker. With two needed players gone, Belichick had to sell high. He put Jacoby Bissett on the block—and chop-chop, he was gone in an instant.

The Colts, arch-rivals, needed someone because Andrew Luck’s luck has run out apparently. Jacoby, we enjoyed messing up your name repeatedly, and now someone in Indianapolis will have that honor.

It was Brissett for Dorsett in this Belichickesque tradett.

Perhaps he was never meant to captain the ship of Patriots with Tom Brady wanting to play for another ten years. Perhaps he knew that Jimmy G-man was the gunner in waiting for Tom’s magic elixir to fail.

So, now, we are ready for the real drama, with the fake news off the blipping screen. The first game is upcoming within a week, and Roger Goodell is rubbing his hands in delight. If he cursed the Patriots, he is now reaping its advent.

Curse of the Bambino Haunts the Celtics

DATELINE:  A-Rod Spoils the Night

 Jacoby Returns

The curse of the Bambino hit the Celtics and eliminated them in the playoffs this season.

Yes, you had only to look at the New York Yankees who came to the playoff game to realize the Celts were dead meat. If the Yanks can do in the Red Sox annually, the Celtics end up as an appetizer.

Who let them in?

So, with the Yankees coming to Fenway Park on Friday for the first series of the season against the Red Sox, you had several Yankees coming to the last game of the season for the Celtics.

You be the judge.

There in the front row, inexplicably a fan of someone somewhere, was A-Rod. Yes, the loathed Alex Rodriguez of the Yanks was at a Celtics game, smiling and spreading his own brand of joie de vivre for Atlanta fans.

To see A-Rod in fine fettle across the court from Bill Russell, you wondered what voodoo would outdo the doo-doo.

Yet, it was worse. The Prodigal Son of the Red Sox showed up in a luxury box, high above the rafters. Yes, there he was in all his splendor, Jacoby Ellsbury, former Red Sox star of the future, and now Yankee bench-rider of the present. He too was a happy camper, waving at the crowd from his perch where the Atlanta Hawks might have an aerie.

The Celtics were doomed from the opening tip-off. The Bambino sent his minions to another sport in Boston—and sent the Celtics off to the golf courses of America for another summer.

 

Welker Returns–but not to New England

The Short Unhappy Life of Wes Welker

Featured imageIn Happier Times

Wes Welker has come out of retirement to play for the Rams.

This is not a case of a distinguished elder statesman coming in for a last hurrah. This is a case of a man with a history of concussions playing with the remainder of his brains left on the field.

We knew he could not return to Brady and the Patriots. Time has moved on—and like a previous wife, Wes cannot rekindle the romance with his paramour remarried to Jules Edelman.

On top of that, the father of the groom would hardly hear of Wes Welkah coming back to the fold. Some insults are better forgotten, and some better remembered. Wes managed to burn the bridges as he fled to the silver dollar saloon in Denver and Peyton’s Place.

We like to think the Patriots would not re-up him because they don’t want him to experience another concussion.  However, the NFL is not a place for bleeding hearts or even compassionate conservatives. If Welkah ends up brain damaged, he will have only himself to blame. But he will make enough money to hire nurses round the clock.

Wes has been raking in a good amount lately by combing his often hair. We may be splitting hairs, but money may be second to the parting of fame. Far more corrosive than a concussion, fame has killed more people than the NFL can count.

Welkah’s career now will have a coda—a short, punctuating moment of suspense, followed by sudden darkness. Don’t ask for the stars, as they said in Now, Voyager, when you already hit the Moon.