Gophers’ Kill plays down health after seizure

MINNEAPOLIS — Not surprisingly, Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill had little to say on Tuesday about his health three days after suffering a seizure in the locker room at TCF Bank Stadium.

Kill, who has a history of seizures, suffered another seizure following Minnesota’s loss on Saturday to Northwestern. The seizure occurred in the coaches locker room at the team’s stadium after Kill had already met with the media. Most of the Gophers players had already left the stadium by that time as well.

The 51-year-old Kill was released from the hospital on Sunday and returned to work Monday. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys led team meetings on Sunday in Kill’s absence.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, it was business as usual for Kill, who was more worried about his team’s upcoming game against Wisconsin than he was about his own health.

“I’m back to work, going full speed,” Kill said.

Saturday’s seizure was the second to take place at TCF Bank Stadium in Kill’s two years as coach. His first was well-documented after he collapsed on the sideline near the end of Minnesota’s game against New Mexico State in early 2011. Kill was taken to a local hospital following that incident but did not miss the Gophers’ next game the following week.

Having already been through the scenario before, the Gophers players were more prepared for how to handle Saturday’s news.

“The coaches talked to us about it. They’ve always done a great job of keeping us informed,” senior linebacker Mike Rallis said. “Obviously, we’re concerned for Coach Kill, but we knew he would bounce back right away. He’s a tough guy and he’s not going to let something like that keep him down.”

Kill was more worried about focusing on how his 4-2 Gophers were going to bounce back from two straight Big Ten losses than he was about addressing his health.

There’s no question Kill will be with the team. After all, he’s never missed a game in his coaching career as a result of his seizures despite also suffering episodes in 2001, 2005 and 2006 while coaching at Southern Illinois.

But the reality that Kill could suffer another seizure at any time is on the back of his players’ minds.

“Going through this all a couple times now, we’re I don’t want to say used to it, but we know that he’s going to be OK,” said Minnesota safety Brock Vereen. “It’s nothing to panic over. … It’s motivation, though. You want to succeed for him because he’s putting his health on the line for us to be here every day.”

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