MADISON, Wis. — Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr collapsed Tuesday morning at the end of a speech he was giving to attendees at a local conference, but he appears to be fine, according to a conference organizer.
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Starr, a former Green Bay Packers quarterback and coach, was the keynote speaker at the Multifamily Housing and Economic Development Conference held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. According to Kevin Fischer, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Starr began his speech at 9 a.m. and talked for 45 minutes to a crowd of roughly 700 people.
“He gave a terrific speech about how organizations build success through talented people who form a great team,” Fischer said. “But he also talked about his time playing with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s under Vince Lombardi.”
According to Fischer, at the conclusion of the speech, the 78-year-old Starr paused silently for “about 15 or 20 seconds” and then collapsed on the stage. Fischer said Starr sat up within minutes and was briefly evaluated by emergency medical personnel.
“At the very end, you could see the appearance was awkward,” Fischer said. “When he collapsed, there was an audible gasp in the crowd. People came forward to help him.”
Fischer said Starr was conscious, speaking coherently and gave the indication he was feeling OK. He then left the convention center with his wife, Cherry, in a private limousine bound for the Dane County Regional Airport, where the two flew back home to Alabama.
“Cherry informs us that he is doing just great,” Fischer said. “He’s feeling fine.”
Starr, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., played for the Packers from 1956-71 and led the team to five National Football League championships and two Super Bowls. He was the MVP in Super Bowls I and II and a four-time Pro Bowl selection in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1966. He also served as Green Bay’s head coach from 1975-83.
Starr has been a highly sought-after motivational speaker for years both in Wisconsin and nationally.