University of Florida

Former Florida Gators, Oakland Raiders linebacker Neiron Ball dead at 27

Former Florida Gators and NFL player Neiron Ball died at the age of 27 after a long battle with a rare brain condition called AVM.
Former Florida Gators and NFL player Neiron Ball died at the age of 27 after a long battle with a rare brain condition called AVM. SCREENGRAB

Former Florida Gators linebacker Neiron Ball died Tuesday morning, his sister, Natalie Ball Myricks, announced in a Facebook post.

Ball battled a rare, congenital condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is a condition causing the brain’s blood vessels to get tangled and rupture.

He was 27 years old.

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, who was a teammate of Ball’s at UF, donated $10,000 in July to Ball’s GoFundMe page as he continued his fight against AVM.

Urban Meyer recruited Ball out of Jackson, Georgia, as part of his final recruiting class in the Swamp. Ball fought through health issues to become an NFL draft pick in 2015. The Oakland Raiders picked him in the fifth round. His NFL career, though, was derailed with AVM that saw him suffering from an aneurysm in September 2018.

Since Ball’s passing was announced, there were several tributes to him on Twitter from the Gators official football account to former teammates.

Will Muschamp coached Ball from 2011 to 2014. He played with the Gators from 2010 to 2014, though he missed the 2011 season due to brain surgery from AVM. He had 94 tackles in 45 career games with the Gators.

Ball’s health began declining in 2018 when a blood vessel ruptured in his brain, which later resulted in an aneurysm.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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