College: University of Florida
Rare disease connection: Ball was diagnosed with a rare condition known as arteriovenous malfunction (AVM) in 2010 during his freshman year at Florida. AVM is a condition where blood vessels in the brain get tangled and rupture. It affects just 300,000 Americans and is often fatal. The condition required many brain surgeries and some thought Ball would never play football again. His positive attitude and resilience to overcome the odds paid off as Ball was cleared to play football again in June 2012.
In his own words: “I almost died,” Neiron said. “I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to play again. I was just thinking that God has my back.”
Vote Now 2013 Rare Disease Champion Award Finalists