What King Henry VIII and some NFL players might have in common

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What King Henry VIII and Some NFL Players Might Have in Common

What do some NFL stars and Henry VIII have in common? According to a recent study from Yale University, they both may have suffered from blows to the head that changed their personality.

The study's three authors chart Henry's transformation from a well-meaning and healthy youth to an angry and deteriorating old man, and they credit his change to head injuries from playing sports.

Henry, of course, wasn't playing football, instead he likely hurt himself while jousting or pole vaulting. But the researchers say Henry's subsequent symptoms are remarkably similar to ones described by former NFL players.

"If I was to see you next week, if we saw each other again, would you remember me?" CNN reporter Sanjay Gupta asked former NFL linebacker Fred McNeill in 2010.

"Sanjay, I don't know," McNeill replied.

The Yale study said Henry's memory deteriorated in his later years. At one point, he ordered his wife to be sent away to the Tower of London and then forgot about it the next day.

"My erratic behavior — the least little thing ticks me off," former All-Pro lineman Leonard Marshall said in an ESPN documentary.

The study said Henry was easily provoked, had "explosive and murderous anger" and was prone to spur-of-the-moment executions.

"I never sleep more than three or four hours a night. Anxiety attacks, depression," Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Joe DeLamielleure said.

The study also said Henry suffered from insomnia and had several bouts of depression, according to accounts from people close to him.

The researchers acknowledge they might never be able to prove a link between Henry's behavior and blows to the head. Still, the hypothesis allows us to view this much-talked-about monarch in a new light.

Look back at Henry VIII's life:

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King Henry VIII
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What King Henry VIII and some NFL players might have in common
Henry Viii, 1491 Â 1547. King Of England. From The Historic Gallery Of Portraits And Paintings, Published 1808. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Henry Viii, 1491 Â 1547. King Of England And Ireland. From The History Of England Published 1859. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Great Seal Of King Henry Viii Of England Affixed To The Treaty Of Alliance Of 1527 Between King Henry Viii And King Francis I Of France Against King Charles V Of Spain. From L'univers Illustre Published In Paris In 1868. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Plan Of Principal Floor Of Hampton Court Palace As It Was During Reign Of King Henry Viii. From History Of Hampton Court Palace In Tudor Times By Ernest Law. Published London 1885. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Henry Viii, 1491 Â 1547. King Of England. After The Portrait Of Henry At Forty-Five Years Of Age By Joos Van Cleve. From History Of Hampton Court Palace In Tudor Times By Ernest Law. Published London 1885. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Henry Viii, 1491 To 1547. King Of England. From The Book Short History Of The English People By J.R. Green, Published London 1893. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Henry VIII, King of England and Ireland, c1520. Henry (1491-1547) reigned from 1509 until 1547. Anonymous portrait. From the National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)
'Arrest and Execution of Thomas More Chancellor to Henry VIII of England' c1541-1599. Henry VIII (1491-1547), dressed in red, rides through the archway on the left. In the right foreground is a dog, representing faithfulness. English statesman, scholar, saint and martyr Thomas More (1478-1535) opposed Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, for which he was executed. (Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)
'King Henry VIII', 1542-1550. Henry (1491-1547) succeeded his father, Henry VII, in 1509. Obsessed with passing the throne on to a male heir, he had six wives in the course of his reign, none of whom provided him with a son who survived. In divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in 1533, Henry severed the English church from Rome. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
'Henry VIII', c1517-1540. From the collection at Windsor Castle. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
Inside the Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. The largest of Cambridge University's colleges, Trinity was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. The Great Court, reputed to be the largest enclosed court in Europe, was completed in the early 17th century by Thomas Nevile, Master of the College. Sir Isaac Newton was an alumnus of Trinity, together with no less than 31 Nobel Prize winners. (Photo by Peter Thompson/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Henry VIII. (Tudor)1491.1547King of england 1491-1547contemp. portrait (drawing) (Photo by Lombard/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Henry VIII (28 June 1491 Â 28 January 1547) was king of England from 21 April 1509 until his death, He was lord, and later king, of Ireland. studio of Hans Holbein, Warwick castle (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
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