NFL Player Keion Carpenter Dead at 39 After Freak Accident Playing With Son

Former Falcons and Buffalo Bills player Keion Carpenter died on Thursday, December 29, after a freak accident while on vacation in Miami with his family.

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The NFL player, 39, was in South Florida when he fell while playing with his son. His cousin Jamila Smith told the Baltimore Sun that “they were running to the car when [Carpenter] slipped, fell, hit his head and slipped into a coma.” The athlete died at Jackson South Community Hospital after being in a coma for 24 hours.

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Keion Carpenter of the Atlanta Falcons poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Atlanta.
Keion Carpenter of the Atlanta Falcons poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Atlanta. Getty Images

“It was just a freak accident,” Smith said. “He was always healthy; he went to the doctor, ate well and worked out.”

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound athlete spent seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons, beginning his career in 1999. After three seasons with the Bills, he was traded to the Falcons in 2002. Watch him discuss his charitable involvements in the video above.

Carpenter played both quarterback and safety while in school at Woodlawn High and was known for his 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

After retiring from the league, the former football pro founded the Carpenter House in Baltimore, a charity supporting the development of healthy homes for low-income children and families.

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Carpenter is survived by his wife, Tonia Carpenter, and four children Kylie, Kennedy, Kierra and Kymiah. 

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