No matter what we do in life, no matter how successful, if we’re parents, that is our main role and what most of us care most about. This was proven to be true recently when an NFL defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers lost his baby daughter.

Brandon Mebane, 33, is much more than a football player. He’s also a devoted husband and father. His little girl, Makenna, was born with a rare chromosome disorder called Trisomy 13 and she died recently. She was seven weeks old. He issued these statements in an interview with ESPN, via the Los Angeles Times.

“She just kept bleeding from her stomach, and when they tried to feed her, it wasn’t good for her liver,” Mebane said. “She wasn’t doing much better, and they had to make a decision.”

Makenna was born on November 12thspent her entire short life in the neonatal intensive care unit at an Omaha, Nebraska hospital.

“You know, it’s been a tough year, period, but she would want me to be here doing my job,” Mebane said. “No matter where I am, I still think about her. I’m just happy I’m still able to play this game.”

Brandon said that getting back into the game is therapeutic, which we can understand. Sometimes staying busy is the best way to handle grief.

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After about 1.5 weeks of life, Makenna got a severe intestine infection called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). It is the leading cause of death amongst premature babies. She coded and recovered, she got sepsis from the gut bacteria getting into her bloodstream and she kept fighting, she got so swollen and kept fighting, she had abdominal surgery and managed to survive that despite that it was a risky surgery with all of her swelling. She came out of surgery with her fist balled and raised in the air. She was such a little fighter. But, after awhile the complications from the infection took a toll on her body and her organs. We came to Omaha for heart surgery but ironically her heart had nothing to do with this, nor did her genetic difference. In fact, her heart was the only thing unaffected by NEC. When her other organs started to give out, her heart kept pumping and even continued to pump after she took her last breath. I told my little warrior girl that she didn’t have to fight anymore. We decided to remove all her ivs, love on her all day and then remove her ventilator. She passed peacefully in mommy and daddy’s arms yesterday at 10:30pm. I will take some time away as we process this and prepare to lay our beautiful, sweet baby to rest. If I don’t respond to a text or call, know that I have received it and just need some time. I’m going to miss her holding my finger, and snuggling with me. She has changed our lives in ways we never expected and we will always remember, love and honor her. RIP Makenna Niara Mebane 11/12/18- 1/3/19. #RememberingMakenna

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“I’m doing pretty good,” he said. “I’m just trying to take one day at a time. It’s still painful. I thank God every day and still pray.”

His teammates are glad to have him back. Defensive lineman Damion Square said this.

“I understand how tough it is for him because I don’t understand that situation. The fact that he’s back in this locker room willing to contribute to this team says a lot about that guy. My hat’s off to him. I know he’ll be effective for us this week on the field.”

Brandon missed four games in November and December to be with his wife and his other children, but he returned to the field last week. Watch the touching moment that the entire stadium observed a moment of silence in honor of Makenna.

We hope that Brandon and his family find peace during this difficult time.