Alert, eating and in stable condition, Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill will be released from an area hospital “sooner than later,” team physician Dr. Pat Smith said Monday.
Smith couldn’t be certain, but his gut instinct was Kill would “absolutely” be back on the sidelines for the next game Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said that prior to the episode Saturday, Kill had “never missed a game” in the 16 years they’ve worked together, hinting that he expected his boss back as well.
Kill has had several instances of public seizures in his coaching career. He had one in 2001 and 2005 while coaching at Southern Illinois and another while taping a segment for a television show in 2006.
None of the previous incidents caused him to miss a game.
“The reality of this disorder is this is a common problem. People live normal lifestyles with this,” Smith said. “There is medical management with current drugs in today’s world that can make people live absolutely normal lives. We have to make sure that we are providing that for him.”
Smith said he took responsibility for the training staff not keeping Kill adequately hydrated and said the heat, humidity, stress and fatigue may have all had a cumulative effect on the 50-year-old coach.
Smith said he would classify what Kill is afflicted with as a benign idiopathic seizure disorder.
In short, it means a harmless condition that arises spontaneously, or for which the triggers are unknown.
“That’s a mouthful,” Smith said, “but essentially he has a seizure disorder.”
Smith added that the reason Kill has been in the hospital this long is that the medical staff is waiting for tests to come back to determine the appropriate levels of medication to provide the coach in the future.
Those tests take 48 hours and the staff preferred to keep Kill in the hospital for that time, Smith said.
“We have hospitalized him more as a precaution [so] that we can address those issues now and not let this occur in the future,” Smith said.
“We’re still waiting on a few studies to make the final determination about what the best appropriate medical management will be going forward.”
Part of that is better game-day hydration, which is an easy fix.
“I’m going to be his worst enemy,” Smith joked.
He added: “We will have measures in place as a protocol as a training staff to address that issue specifically.”
What that protocol is, Smith didn’t address specifically, but it could be as simple as having someone follow him around with a water bottle and making sure he drinks.
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