Despite seizures, Kill moving on with teamJerry Kill was back to work this week as Minnesota’s coach, with players to supervise, a bowl game plan to implement and the constancy of recruiting to tend to.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jerry Kill was back to work this week as Minnesota’s coach, with players to supervise, a bowl game plan to implement and the constancy of recruiting to tend to.
That’s likely what most of the estimated 2.2 million Americans with epilepsy would’ve done in a similar spot. Kill just happens to have a high-profile job, as the face of a Big Ten football team.
Seizures can be scary, but those who live with them and those who’ve worked with Kill have faith in the coach to persevere, despite three game-day episodes in two seasons at the helm of the Gophers. The latest one occurred in the locker room at halftime last Saturday.
“We all appreciate the fact that this isn’t a normal thing. It’s not something that happens every day. It’s not hiccupping or sneezing,” said offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, who has been an assistant on Kill’s staff since 1999. “I’ve seen them on numerous occasions, and it still takes my breath away a little bit. There’s concern there. But as a group we’ve worked through it and said, ‘This is a fact of life.’”
The seizure Kill had last weekend kept him off the field for the second half of Minnesota’s loss to Michigan State, but the episode was deemed minor enough that the 51-year-old was able to go home that night without a hospital visit.
The attack he experienced last season, though, is still etched in the minds of those at the stadium and watching on television that afternoon when his body convulsed back and forth after he collapsed on the sideline. That was considered a grand mal seizure, and he was away from the team for several days that month while doctors tried to bring his condition better under control.
The university was well aware of his history with seizures when he was hired two years ago and received medical assurance they won’t hinder his work, and that’s still the message from the athletic department, his staff and Gophers players.
“He’s as healthy as a horse, as they say,” athletic director Norwood Teague said. “He has to continue to monitor all the simple things in life that we have to monitor, in that you watch your diet, watch your weight, watch your rest, watch your stress.”
Teague said he’s not concerned about Kill’s ability to stay on top of this demanding position or the possibility that devious opposing coaches will use it against him in recruiting competitions.