A former NFL linebacker who had been in a medically induced coma after having a brain aneurysm last year has died, relatives said.
Neiron Ball, 27, died early Tuesday, nearly one year after being admitted to a hospital in Atlanta with a ruptured blood vessel in his brain, his sister Natalie Ball Myricks announced on Facebook.
“The Ball family is forever grateful for the prayers, donations and immense support of Neiron and his recovery,” she wrote. “Neiron was a very special and loving father, brother and teammate. Neiron has transitioned to a place of peace.”
In 2011, while playing for the Florida Gators, Ball was first diagnosed with a rare blood vessel disorder called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain that affects less than 1 per cent of all people.
Ball returned to the field the following year and started two games for the Gators before playing in all 12 games in 2013, making seven starts at linebacker. He was later picked in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Neiron Ball.Source:AP
Ball appeared in six games for Oakland his rookie season, finishing with nine tackles and one sack in two starts before a knee injury derailed his season. He was then released by the Raiders just before each of the next two seasons.
An online fundraiser created by Ball’s sister and great-aunt had garnered more than $136,000 in donations as of Tuesday.
The Sports & Entertainment Group, a DC-based agency that represented Ball, said in a statement that the Georgia native was a “rare and special spirit” who impacted everyone he met.
“His talent was met with relentless drive, no matter the obstacle,” the statement read. “Neiron was a loving and cherished father, brother and teammate. He will be missed dearly.”
The Gators also posted a tribute to Ball on Tuesday:
“Rest in Peace, Neiron. You’ll be forever remembered and always missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.”
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