Former College Football Star at Alabama Dies
Neighbors, who was born in Tuscaloosa, was an All-American in 1961 for the Crimson Tide, playing both offense and defense. He anchored a defense that allowed a total of 25 points and posted six shutouts in 11 games that season.
''Billy meant so much to Alabama football over the decades,'' Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore, who was a teammate of Neighbors, said in a statement. ''He was one of our first great players under Coach Bryant, and he had become a tremendous friend to me and everyone in the Alabama family.''
He went on to an eight-year professional career with the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
''Billy was easy to like. It was always easy to talk with Billy,'' Moore said. ''We spoke three or four times a week for as far back as I can remember. I have lost a great friend and Alabama certainly lost a legend. It's just a tremendous loss
According to the University of Minnesota campus police, paramedics were called to Roy Wilkins Hall in reference to an unresponsive student.
First responders tried to resuscitate the patient but he was pronounced dead just before 8 a.m.
Our partner, FOX9 News in Minneapolis, is reporting the student is former First Coast High football player Gary Tinsley, 22.
Tinsley was a senior linebacker for the Gophers football team, starting all 12 games and finishing his final college season with 87 tackles (second most on the team). Tinsley participated in a Gophers pro day workout last month with hopes of being selected in the upcoming NFL draft.
The Hennepin County sheriff's office and the University of Minnesota police are investigating. No foul play is suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
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WBRC-TV reports that Richardson and Courtney Alvis arrived Saturday night at Boutwell Auditorium for Hueytown High School's prom.
He was sporting a white tuxedo while she was wearing a red dress.
Richardson agreed to attend the dance with Alvis after her uncle contacted some of his friends at Alabama. He didn't go to his own senior prom, but he said he wanted to attend Alvis' dance because his own mother is a cancer survivor.
He says: "I did it out of my heart. I'm lucky to be here with Courtney."
Alvis was diagnosed with leukemia last year and is now undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
An autopsy of a 21-year-old college football player who committed suicide has revealed mild stages of a type of brain damage typically seen in retired or aging athletes and can cause neurobehavioral disorders and bizarre behavior.
Teammates had described Owen Thomas as an affable college junior who had been overwhelmingly voted to be one of the captains by the University of Pennsylvania football team, and his coach had called him "the most popular kid on our team." Thomas also was named to the Second-Team All-Ivy in 2009.
His suicide in April stunned his friends and family.
Researchers from Boston University requested an autopsy of his brain. This week, they said that Thomas had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, making him the first active college football player known to have had the debilitating condition.
CTE is also called dementia pugilistica, because career boxers who've suffered repeated blows to the head and concussions have been known to develop the syndrome.
Its effects are mainly neurobehavioral, including poor decision-making, impaired memory, erratic behavior, use of drugs and alcohol, depression and suicide.
"We know that CTE can bring on things like depression and erratic behavior and problems with impulse control," Dr. Robert Stern, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine, said on CNN's "American Morning."
"And there have been several cases of suicide in the past amongst people who were found to have CTE. But in any individual case, we can't say for sure that there's a link," he said.
CTE has been identified in the brains of late NFL football players John Grimsley, Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk, Terry Long, Tom McHale and Chris Henry.
Grimsley died of an accidental gunshot wound to the chest. Webster, Long and Strzelczyk all died after long bouts of depression, while Waters committed suicide in 2006 at age 44. McHale was found dead last year of an apparent drug overdose. Henry died at the age of 26 after falling from a moving truck during a fight with his girlfriend.
While CTE has been seen in older players who've suffered concussions and repeated head injuries, Thomas had never been diagnosed with a concussion as far back to the age of 9, according to his medical records and family.
Thomas was a lineman, a position that endures as many as 1,000 hits to the head per season.
Recently, neurologists have suggested that such blows to the head could be deceptively severe, even if the player does not feel any pain or show any symptoms. The accumulation of such strikes to the head could cause long-lasting damage.
Young player had brain damage more often seen in NFL veterans
"It shows us that you don't need to have had known or reported concussions to develop this brain disease," Stern said. "It really shows us that those multiple, repetitive sub-concussive blows to the head that are experienced by so many athletes in many different sports can bring on the beginnings of this disease."