Jerry Kill’s struggle with seizures have been well documented. In 14 home games that he has coached at TCF Bank Stadium, Kill has suffered a seizure in three of them. His most recent bout at halftime of the Michigan State game last week kept him from the sideline for the rest of the game. While the public may not fully understand the causes and reasons for the seizures, we are well aware of their occurrence. It’s no surprise that athletic director Norwood Teague is aware too.
“I know this will bring up questions about [Kill] and moving forward, but we have 100 percent confidence in Jerry,” Teague said after the game Saturday. “He’s as healthy as a horse, as they say. It’s just an epileptic situation that he deals with. He has to continue to monitor all the simple things in life that we all have to monitor, in that you watch your diet, watch your weight, watch your rest, watch your stress.”
“The way that I look at it is that this is just an evolving medical issue for him–one in which he is going to continue to pursue opinions on how to manage it,” Teague told the Pioneer Press. “I think there’s certainly a lot of hope that the management part will get a lot better as time goes on. You have to find a way to manage it from a medicine standpoint and just a lifestyle standpoint. He’s going to have time in the offseason to do that. I’m confident we’re going to make some big-time progress.
“I’m definitely concerned about his health and him getting better. Is there turmoil on the team because of this? Absolutely not. Is there doubt now about him moving forward? Absolutely not. It’s just a matter, for me, about him looking deeper into it. One thing about Jerry, he likes to tackle everything himself. We have to do a better job here of managing around him. As an AD, our relationship is great. But I have to do a better job of helping him. I can take some things off his plate that other coaches can do. But Jerry is a fighter. He doesn’t want to let things go.”
For now, Kill is back at work. His team is awaiting an invitation to a bowl game for the first time three years. While they prepare for what will likely be the Meinke Car Care Bowl in Houston, the team continues to voice support and confidence in their head coach. As fans, we continue to show support in Kill as well. There seems to be more concern from the fan base, however. At least that’s how we see it here at TCH.
The concern is not in his ability to coach and recruit, but in his health. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of epilepsy. Maybe it’s another sign of what got us the label of Minnesota Nice–the fact that we would put a man’s well-being before the success of a program and the game they play. Whatever it is, we agree with Teague. There needs to be a better job in managing the seizures, not so the program can be a great success, which we would love to see, but so our coach can remain vibrant and healthy.