Neiron Ball, a former Oakland Raiders player in the NFL, has died at the age of 27 after battling a rare brain disorder.
Ball’s family made the announcement on Monday morning (September 9), saying: ‘Neiron was a very special and loving father, brother, and teammate. Neiron has transitioned to a place of peace.’
Ball, 27, had been diagnosed with Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) after collapsing during football practice for the Florida Gators in 2011. Doctors confirmed he was suffering from a brain bleed and required surgery.
Neiron Ball. Always smiling. Always happy. Always positive. Absolutely one of the best teammates and humans I was fortunate enough to be around. Thank you for being my friend and brother in that orange and blue. RIP brother!!! pic.twitter.com/vip5zzxGCs
— Gator Made (@XavierNixon) September 10, 2019
Describing his condition, Ball told The Orlando Sentinel (as per NBC) in 2012:
I can’t really explain it. The closest thing I can think is somebody just smashing my brain… like somebody was squeezing my brain.
The condition, which is brought on by tangled blood vessels in the brain, reportedly affects less than 1 per cent of the population.
The Florida Gators posted a tribute on social media: ‘Rest in Peace, Neiron. You’ll be forever remembered and always missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.’
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 10, 2019
The former Gators player was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft – though he was later placed on injured reserve.
In September 2018, Ball was placed in a medically induced coma at Emory Hospital in Atlanta after suffering a brain aneurysm.
The Raiders ask that Neiron Ball and his family are kept in the thoughts and prayers of the Raider Nation during this difficult time.
Ball is currently in a medically induced coma after suffering a brain aneurysm on Sept. 16 pic.twitter.com/t4UowTNsfI
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) September 25, 2018
In a statement in July this year, his family confirmed that he had awoken from the coma, but was in a quadriplegic state. In order to pay for his expensive medical care, the family set up a GoFundMe page – at the time of writing, it has raised $136,000.
Ball was being cared for by his sister, Natalie Myricks and his great aunt. His mother died from a heart attack when he was six years old, and his father passed away when Ball was nine years old after a seizure following a lung cancer diagnosis.
Myricks told WCJB:
He’s a $2,000-3,000 a day patient, so the insurance will only pay for skilled nursing facilities which is basically… he won’t get any rehab there. He would just lay up, develop bedsores and deteriorate.
[The GoFundMe page] went all around the University of Florida. Fans and alumni they rallied together and we hit that goal [of $100,000] in a day so I’m shocked.
According to his official Gators profile, Ball was considered to be one of the top line-backing prospects in the country.
While studying and playing at University of Florida, Ball recorded the first sack in 2013 at the expense of future Heisman winner Jameis Winston.
During his first season, Ball sacked the Cleveland Browns’ Josh McCown.
Ball told the San Francisco Chronicle:
It felt really good. My eyes got really big when I saw it coming, And then when it happened, I knew I had to celebrate, gotta make it cool. That’s what you do when you are dripping in sauce.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Brain AVM include bleeding, progressive loss of neurological function, headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, weak muscles, paralysis in one part of the body among others.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.