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  • Jesse Mahelona was a professional American football player who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans as a defensive tackle. He passed away from an alcohol-related car crash in 2009. He was 26.

    About Jesse Mahelona

    Jesse Steven Kahuanani Mahelona was born in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on April 7, 1983. He was a defensive lineman on the football team at Kealakehe High School.

    At the University of Tennessee, Mahelona played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers or “Vols” under the leadership of coach Phillip Fulmer. He would continue playing Tennessee football for several years, eventually joining the National Football League (NFL).


    When it came time for the 2006 NFL draft, Mahelona was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round. Now a NFL player, Mahelona was the Tennessee Titans defensive tackle of the team, known as “DT Jesse Mahelona.”

    In 2007, he was waived by the Miami Dolphins, but eventually signed with the Atlanta Falcons until he was cut in December of that year. In 2008, Mahelona joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was cut shortly thereafter.

    How Jesse Mahelona Died

    Jesse Mahelona died in a car accident on September 5, 2009, alongside Kealakehe Parkway during the early hours of the morning. Police pronounced Jesse Mahelona dead at the scene, stating alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.

    Additionally, the car wrecked into construction equipment. Mahelona was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. In his obituary, Mahelona’s teammate and Titans linebacker Stephen Tulloch stated he had lost a great friend.


    After his death, a fund was created to help the Mahelona family, as his wife Brandi was pregnant with the couple’s second child when he died. Mahelona’s agent Chad Speck also offered his condolences, according to ESPN.

    Jesse Mahelona’s History Of Substance Abuse & Rehab

    The former Tennessee Titans player participated in drunk driving the night of his death. While there isn’t much information available on Mahelona’s substance use, we know accidents can occur when a person engages in risky behavior due to the effects of alcohol.

    There is also no history of Mahelona receiving addiction treatment or attending an alcohol rehab.

    Recovery Is Possible

    Although it’s unknown whether Mahelona suffered from alcohol use disorder, alcohol is a highly intoxicating substance that can lead to fatal accidents and other adverse effects when abused.

    If you or a loved one live with alcohol addiction, know that recovery is possible. At Ark Behavioral Health, we can help you and your family achieve recovery and live a healthy, satisfying life free of alcohol and drugs.

    To learn more about how we can help, 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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