Dizzy spell leads to heart surgery for Cards QB coach

TEMPE, Ariz. – Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens underwent surgery to repair a defect in his aorta on Tuesday night. Kitchens had to leave Tuesday’s practice at the team’s Tempe headquarters because he wasn’t feeling well, and the defect was later discovered by doctors during tests.

Quarterback Carson Palmer was with Kitchens when he started experiencing signs of trouble.

“He said he felt something in his chest,” Palmer said. “He got a little bit of blurry vision and he started saying some weird things so we called the trainers over and they took him inside. We thought maybe he was dehydrated. As it turns out, he’s lucky to be alive.”

When Kitchens arrived at the hospital, doctors performed tests including a CT scan and quickly recommended Kitchens have surgery after discovering the defect. The procedure was performed Tuesday night at the Arizona Heart Institute. Cardinals officials said Wednesday that Kitchens is doing well.

“He was awake and talking and feeling a lot better,” Palmer said.

Affable and easy-going, Kitchens has been a part of the Cardinals coaching staff since 2007. He was the tight ends coach under Ken Whisenhunt before shifting to quarterbacks coach when Bruce Arians arrived earlier this year.

Kitchens, 38, was a quarterback at Alabama, where he was coached for one season by Arians. While he recovers, assistant head coach/offense Tom Moore will work with the quarterbacks.

Kitchens and his wife, Ginger, have two daughters.