Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has had epilepsy for nine years, and it hasn't slowed him down too much. He has continued to coach and continued to win, taking Minnesota from three victories to six victories in his second season.
But Kill has been forced to take a closer look at his health following three game-day seizures in his first two seasons at Minnesota. The most recent took place at halftime of Minnesota's regular-season finale against Michigan State. Although Kill walked out of TCF Bank Stadium and has recovered, he didn't coach during the second half.
Athletic director Norwood Teague recently told ESPN.com that he has full confidence that Kill will return in 2013. Although Teague isn't concerned about Kill's health hurting Minnesota's recruiting efforts, he admits there is a perception issue. Teague also noted that Kill must try to get the seizures under control before next season.
Kill appears to be on his way.
From the Star Tribune:
"I'm very fortunate," Kill said. "I'm working with somebody [medically], I'm not going to mention who it is until they feel comfortable that they want to be mentioned. And if they do I'll mention it, but I'm working with one of the best people in the world. We're convinced together that I can be seizure-free in a year."
Kill said he is being monitored on a daily basis, mostly to ensure his medication is properly balanced. He also knows his high-profile job makes people more aware of his condition, while the same disease goes unnoticed or unreported in many corporate leaders.
Kill, a cancer survivor, calls epilepsy "a very complicated disease," one that has various causes. He tells Sid Hartman that he has been more devoted to coaching than to getting his condition under control. Although his overall health remains strong, he was "more down in the dumps than I've ever been in my life" after missing the second half of the Michigan State game.
"I've missed maybe three or two days of work or something like that," he said. "There's a lot of people that miss a lot more work than that. It just happened at a bad time and it's bad, but I told my guys that it can't happen ever again and there's some things we can do before games and different things so it won't happen. I have to have confidence in the guy I'm working with, I do. And we'll move forward."
Best of luck to Coach Kill in his pursuit for a seizure-free life.