Neiron Ball Fought His Way Back into Football and the NFL –
Making it to the NFL is a difficult feat for any player and it was especially a difficult journey for Neiron Ball. At age 18, Neiron was preparing for his sophomore year with the Florida Gators when he began experiencing excruciating headaches that halted his time on the field and put his future plans to play in the NFL in jeopardy.
In a Raiders.com article, Neiron recalls how he was feeling:
“I was really scared. Like I said, I can’t even really describe the pain. Going through that, you would think that you’re not going to make it through something like that. I wish I could explain it better, but it was almost like somebody had my brain in their hands and they were squeezing it as hard as they can. I really didn’t know. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through or not.”
The pain Neiron was feeling was caused by a congenital condition in which the brain’s blood vessels get tangled and rupture. He was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and underwent brain surgery.
After the successful surgery, Neiron sat out his 2011 season until he was cleared to resume play by his physicians. According to ESPN, “Once he resumed football, Ball continued to excel for the Gators. Even though his 2014 season was cut short with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery, Ball was closely scouted. He had an excellent showing at the Florida pro day and he visited about a dozen NFL teams prior to the Raiders taking Ball in the fifth round on May 2.”
“I try to get stronger every day in life,” Ball said. “I thank God every day for getting me this far and allowing me to function through all of this.”