Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane is returning to the team this week with a heavy heart.
Mebane has been away from the team for most of December to be with his wife and children after the premature birth of their daughter, Makenna.
Head coach Anthony Lynn told the media Wednesday that Mebane, who missed the first round of the playoffs, was back at the facility and expected to play Sunday when Los Angeles travels to New England for the AFC Divisional round.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reported shortly after that Mebane’s daughter died.
Brandon Mebane said his daughter passed away Thursday.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) January 9, 2019
Mebane’s daughter born with heart defect
Mebane and his wife, Amena, knew in July that their unborn daughter had the heart condition trisomy 13. They shared their story with the team website in early December after Mebane returned to the team following a two-week absence.
Amena moved with their two children to Omaha, Nebraska, for a hospital specializing in the care they would need. Many babies die within the first days or weeks of life, according to the National Institutes of Health.
At the beginning of the season Mebane said he traveled to Nebraska on Mondays to see them, then returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday nights.
Makenna was born Nov. 12 without complications, but five weeks earlier than expected. She was initially doing fine, he said, but doctors found she also had Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NES), which affects the intestines of premature infants.
Mebane told USA Tday for a Dec. 21 story that Chargers owner Dean Spanos let him use his private plane to get there for the surgery. Makenna has been in the NICU and Mebane decided to stay with his wife and their children in Nebraska for four games between November and December. He returned for the final two games of the regular season.
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