Former Florida linebacker Neiron Ball has passed away today, his family has confirmed. He was 27 years old.
His sister and primary caregiver, Natalie Ball-Myricks, posted a statement on Facebook:
“Gator Nation and Friends of Neiron Ball:
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Neiron Ball on September 10, 2019 at 4:15 am. The Ball family is forever grateful for the prayers, donations, and immense support of Neiron and his recovery. Neiron was a very special and loving father, brother, and teammate. Neiron has transitioned to a place of peace.
Dary and Natalie Ball Myricks”
While at Florida, doctors detected that Ball had arteriovenous malformation (AVN), a rare, congenital condition in which blood vessels in the brain rupture due to being tangled. He suffered an incident in his dorm room in 2011 and had to be rushed to the hospital, where medical personnel discovered that his brain was bleeding. He went through emergency surgery and missed the entire 2011, and was given only a 50% chance of playing football again.
But he did play again, and he became a star. Ball registered 94 tackles over his career, and intercepted a pass from Georgia’s Aaron Murray in the 2012 World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. He enjoyed a fine senior year, recording 33 tackles and two sacks, and was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played six games for the Raiders as a rookie before eventually being waived with the “non-football related injury” label- which people believed to be his brain condition- and that was the end of his football career.
His medical condition, while never ideal, seemed to be manageable until almost exactly one year ago to the day. In September of 2018, Ball was admitted to the hospital following a ruptured brain aneurysm. Ball was then placed into a medically induced coma.
In July, Ball-Myricks decided to move her brother from a nursing home and into a rehab facility in order to begin aggressive rehab treatment, and created a GoFundMe account to help with the costs. Fans and players poured in to help, raising over $137,000- nearly three times the family’s initial goal of $50,000.
May you rest in eternal paradise, Neiron.