As 2016 winds down, news of celebrity deaths keeps coming. Former NFL player Keion Carpenter died while vacationing with his family. According to his family members, he was playing with his son and as they were running to the car, Carpenter slipped and hit his head. He collapsed and was in a coma for 24 hours and was pronounced dead at Jackson South Community Hospital on Thursday morning. His death is the second this moth of a former player with the Buffalo Bills. On December 20, 2016, former Bills linebacker Robert Eddins was found shot to death at his father’s home in Detroit, Michigan.
Carpenter had retired from football over 10 years ago after playing for the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons. But he was not idle during this time. He started the non-profit organization The Carpenter House whose mission was to help low-income families and children realize their academic and economic potential through a number of services.
As a young man, Carpenter played football at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore before going on to play college football at Virginia Tech. After graduating college, Carpenter signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent, and played three seasons with the team. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons and played for a total of four seasons. During a playoff game with the Philadelphia Eagles, Carpenter received a head blow which caused brief paralysis and was thought to be a career-ending injury. He suffered two fractured vertebrae and underwent spinal fusion surgery. To the amazement of the NFL, he returned to the football field and played another three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. His former coach at Virginia Tech Frank Beamer stated, “He had a heart of gold. His work with The Carpenter House and other charitable organizations to help those in need truly embodied the Virginia Tech spirit.”
Although a native of Baltimore, Carpenter and his family called Atlanta their home.