Former Florida and Oakland Raiders linebacker Neiron Ball died Tuesday morning after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm. He was just 27 years old.
Ball’s sister, Natalie Ball Myricks, announced the news in a Facebook post.
“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,” she wrote.
While he played for Florida, Ball was diagnosed with a rare condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which causes blood vessels in the brain to tangle and rupture. Despite the diagnosis, Ball made a miraculous recovery after having emergency surgery that caused him to sit out the 2011 season and was able to return to football for the Gators.
Ball returned to the field in 2012 and emerged as a standout player on Florida’s defense, compiling 94 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks during his time in Gainesville. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft but played only six games before a knee injury put him on the injured reserved list. He spent the 2016 season on injured reserve and was waived in July 2017 with a non-football injury designation, believed to be because of his AVM.
In September 2018, Ball was hospitalized due to a ruptured blood vessel and an aneurysm
In July, a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to assist with his recovery was launched.
“Neiron is currently fighting for his life. Unfortunately, his health insurance does not cover the appropriate care necessary to give him the best chance of recovery. With the appropriate neurological and rehabilitative care, Neiron will be given the fighting chance he deserves,” the GoFundMe page said.
The campaign was started by Myricks with an initial goal of $50,000 in funding but donations far exceeded that figure, eventually reaching nearly $137,000 in support of Ball, who was beloved by his teammates and UF fans.
In the hours since Ball’s passing, many from Florida football have expressed their sentiments on social media.
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
Suffer no more 🕊️— Trent Brown (@Trent) September 10, 2019
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