Former Florida Gators and Oakland Raiders linebacker Neiron Ball passed away Tuesday morning nearly a year after suffering a brain aneurysm, his sister Natalie Ball Myricks told The MMQB.
Ball, 27, was well-liked among his Gator teammates during his collegiate career spanning 2011 to ’14. During his sophomore season Ball was diagnosed with a rare congenital condition known as arteriovenous malformation (AVM), where the brain’s blood vessels get tangled and rupture. He missed a full college season but made an improbable recovery and returned to the team, and in 2015 the Raiders selected him in the fifth round of the draft.
Ball had nine tackles and one sack in his rookie season and then landed on injured reserve the following year due to a knee injury. He was released after the 2016 season and had a few tryouts, but he never fully recovered from the knee injury.
On Sept. 16, 2018, Ball was diagnosed with an aneurysm. Following a medically induced coma and stints in various Georgia medical facilities, Ball was rendered immobile and could communicate with only his eyes. His sister, Natalie Ball Myricks, launched a GoFundMe in July to raise awareness of her brother’s condition and to help with Ball’s medical bills. Within days, the fund topped its $100,000 goal with the help of donations of Florida fans and his former teammates.
Washington tight end Jordan Reed donated $10,000 as several other Gator players donated thousands of dollars. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who served as Ball’s defensive coordinator at Florida, used his platform early in training camp to shed light on Ball’s situation.
“He is a great teammate. He put others before himself. He’s very selfless,” Falcons safety and former Florida teammate Keanu Neal told The MMQB in early August when Ball was in recovery. “That’s big to have a teammate that does that. He’s just an all around good guy. He just always had a smile on his face and made people laugh. It’s always good vibes when you’re around him.”
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