Family of late Lake Mary Prep football player honored with foundation focused on CTE education, prevention

Ray Lewis III was a standout football player at Lake Mary Prep, leading the Griffins to a district championship in 2012. But he was more than an athlete.

Ray-Ray, as his family affectionately called him, was a son, a brother, a grandson and a friend. He died from a drug overdose last year at 28 years old.

"It was a mother’s worst nightmare. But since then, I’ve tried to find meaning in why it happened and purpose to continue his life," Tatyana McCall said.

McCall and Lewis’s father, NFL Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis, launched the RL3 Foundation in Ray Ray’s honor.

Their goal is all about awareness of CTE and youth football safety.

"When I sat out there at those little league games all day long, cheering my babies on and taking them to these practices five days a week after school year-round," McCall said. "I had no idea that 20-22 years later, I’d be burying him because of it."

Researchers at Boston University’s CTE Center posthumously diagnosed Ray-Ray with stage two CTE after examining his brain.

Some of the disease’s symptoms include memory loss, confusion and impulsiveness.

"He came to me maybe less than a year before he passed away and said, mom, something’s not right with my head," McCall said.

Ray-Ray’s untimely death is something his family will never get over. But they’re keeping his legacy alive both on and off the field.

"Just enjoy your life. You only get one life to live. He lived his to the fullest every single day, whether it was playing sports or not," Ray-Ray’s brother, Rahsaan Lewis said.

Next weekend, the RL3 Foundation will host its first "Motivation Weekend".

There’ll be a sports performance camp, a 7-on-7 tournament for older players and a music festival on Saturday.

On Sunday, there will also be a brunch and a panel of CTE researchers, educating about the disease.