Thursday, December 28, 2023

Former NFL Player Mike Williams Died of Dental Related Sepsis


Last week I read with sadness the story of former NFL player Mike Williams and his unfortunate, way too early, demise.  His death was brought about by “bacterial sepsis with cerebral abscesses and necrotizing lobar pneumonia due to multiple caries and retained tooth roots”.

He was working as an electrician on a construction site in Tampa, Florida.  However, before his second career as an electrician, Mike had been a wide receiver in the NFL.  He was drafted out of Syracuse University in fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft.  He went on to play in the league for a total of 63 games.

His first 4 years were spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  In his first year, he brought down 65 passes for a season total of 964 yards along with 11 touchdowns.  That amazing performance brought him national recognition and resulted in him finishing second in the voting for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010.

While he had a good career as an athlete, the average career in the NFL is about 4 years and so, in his late 20s Mike left the NFL and became an electrician.

While working on a construction site, he was somehow injured by, according to the medical examiner, "heavy supplies landing on his head" on August 21 of this year.  The injury put him into the hospital in the ICU where he struggled to hang on.  However, once he was hospitalized his health continued to decline and he eventually passed on September 12th.  In addition to the injuries he sustained, it was the dental infections that the medical examiner determined was the ultimate cause of his passing.

Teeth are located in the head with maxillary (upper) teeth in very close proximity to the cranial cavity and the brain.  Infections from dental problems can be serious and even life threatening.

While this situation is not common, it is certainly a situation that can develop.  I think it is a pretty good testament to our healthcare system, knowledge, and modern antibiotics that keep this from happening more often.

My condolences to his friends and family.  In an effort to try and see the good inside the bad, let this be an example to any of you reading this who are frightened of dentistry or have just delayed seeing a dentist because of a busy life.  Dental problems can be more than just "problems".  The effects of dental infections can be dire.  Rest In Peace, Mr. Williams.  

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