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  • In 1986, NFL safety Don Rogers passed away from a cocaine-induced heart attack at the age of 23.

    About Don Rogers

    Donald Rogers was born on September 17, 1962, in Texarkana, Arkansas. However, he later attended and graduated from Norte del Rio High School in Sacramento, California.

    Both Rogers and his brother Reggie Rogers played in the (National Football League) NFL.

    College Football Career

    For college, Rogers attended the University of California in Los Angeles, joining the UCLA Bruins football team. He played in the 1983 Rose Bowl for UCLA and achieved great status as an All-American college football player when he tied a record in the 1984 Rose Bowl.

    Rogers made two historic interceptions during the game. Later in 1984, Rogers was selected during the first round of the NFL draft pick.

    NFL Career

    From 1984 to 1985, Rogers played with the Cleveland Browns for two seasons during which he received the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Throughout his career, he would score numerous touchdowns and claim various awards for his skills as a football player.

    How Don Rogers Died

    Rogers died from a cocaine overdose on June 27, 1986, in Sacramento, California. Rogers experienced a heart attack due to the amount of cocaine he ingested.

    According to AP News, the Sacramento County Coroner stated that five times the lethal dose of cocaine was found in Rogers’ system.

    Rogers was found dead hours after his bachelor party took place. The drug overdose occurred the day before he was set to wed his college girlfriend, Leslie Nelson.

    Family members called 911 and Rogers was taken to Community Hospital in Sacramento. Rogers tragically died at the age of 23.

    Don Rogers’ History Of Substance Abuse & Rehab

    Rogers’ death took place only eight days after Len Bias, an NBA draft pick who also died from cocaine. Because of this, a focus was placed on substance abuse within the sports industry.

    Not only was there a history of substance abuse within the sports industry at the time, Rogers also struggled with drug use. However, after his death his fiancé Leslie Nelson stated she was not even aware of his drug abuse.

    Unfortunately, some who abuse drugs can easily hide their addiction from friends and family. This seems to be the case with Rogers, who was not known to take drugs and never attended rehab.

    Recovery Is Possible

    Although Rogers may not have received addiction treatment, his and Bias’ deaths shed light on an issue that is still present in the sports industry in 2022. Those struggling with drug use should consider seeking treatment because recovery is possible with professional care and support.

    To learn how we address cocaine addiction, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
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