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Sunday, December 28, 2003
Doctor: Steinbrenner in 'excellent' health

Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. -- New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was released from the hospital Sunday, one day after he fainted at a memorial service, and his doctor described his health as excellent.

The 73-year-old Steinbrenner was released from Sarasota Memorial Hospital about 7:45 p.m. Sunday and picked up by family members, hospital spokeswoman Lyn Cassan said.

"He wanted to go home," Cassan said, adding that Steinbrenner spent part of Sunday watching football games in his room. "He wasn't very happy sitting in a hospital bed."

Dr. Andrew G. Boyer, Steinbrenner's personal physician, said in a statement that Steinbrenner recovered in a few minutes after collapsing during the church service for football great Otto Graham.

"He's doing well ever since," the doctor said. "To be sure that it was nothing more than a fainting spell he has had a very extensive cardiac and neurological work-up.

"All the diagnostic studies were normal," he added. "He's feeling well and his general health is excellent."

Outside Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Boyer said that Steinbrenner had never passed out like this before, and he thinks the stress of being at a friend's memorial service could have been a factor.

"Sometimes in a stressful situation, you just pass out," Boyer said.

Howard Rubenstein, the owner's publicist, said Steinbrenner was already looking ahead.

"George has been telling people that he expects everyone to be back at work on Monday, and he expects to join them," Rubenstein said.

About a dozen reporters were camped in front of the hospital's entrance Sunday, with some arriving before dawn. Many were sitting in lawn chairs waiting for an update.

Steinbrenner was taken to the hospital in stable condition after he collapsed, Paul Dezzi of the Sarasota County Fire Department said Saturday. The owner was alert and talkative at the time.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist Doug Fernandes said he was about 20 feet away when Steinbrenner fell during a slide show. The presentation, prepared by Graham's grandchildren and shown at a reception, featured pictures of Steinbrenner and Graham together.

"He went to reach for a chair but he missed, and he went face-first into the carpet," Fernandes said. "People were stunned. They started loosening his tie and his collar. He was out for a few seconds. By the time they wheeled him out, his color had returned."

Temperatures were normal for this time of year, in the mid-70s. The reception room was full.

Graham, a longtime friend of Steinbrenner, died Dec. 17. The Hall of Fame quarterback was 82.

Steinbrenner, who has owned the Yankees since 1973, lives in Tampa, about 60 miles from Sarasota.

Steinbrenner grew up in Cleveland and later became longtime friends with Graham, the Browns' star quarterback from 1946-55. They were golfing partners, attended banquets together and helped each other with charity events.