Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane’s infant daughter, Makenna, died on Jan. 3.
Despite the tragedy, Mebane said he plans on playing in Sunday’s AFC divisional round against the Patriots. He missed the Chargers’ 23-17 win over the Ravens on Sunday.
“I’m still thankful, and I thank God every day,” Mebane said, via ESPN. “We’re taking it one day at a time.”
Makenna, who was born on Nov. 12, had a heart defect called trisomy 13, which is when the heart doesn’t have a valve. Mebane and his wife, Amena, discovered the defect during an ultrasound in July and decided to relocate to Omaha, Neb., where specialists for the defect were located.
The plan was for Makenna to have surgery on her heart, but in early December she developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), which is an infection that caused her intestines to become inflamed.
“She was fine for a couple of weeks, for two weeks, and then she got sick with (her) little stomach intestines. They call it NEC,” Mebane told the Chargers’ site last month. “Basically, the baby swells up and all kinds of things happen. Her blood was low. They had to get her blood counts and all kinds of medicine to help her recover.”
The plan was for Makenna to remain in Omaha and eventually get the surgery once she recovered from NEC. But now Mebane said his wife and two other daughters are back in California as the team prepares to head to New England.