Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meyer Admits Hiding Truth on Health Issues; the Gators Coach Says He Wanted to Protect His Family

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meyer Admits Hiding Truth on Health Issues; the Gators Coach Says He Wanted to Protect His Family

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

NEW ORLEANS - Florida coach Urban Meyer said he and school officials were not truthful about the severity of his medical problems, because they wanted to protect Meyer's family.

During a news conference Thursday, Meyer said he initially did not want to release any information about being taken by ambulance to a Gainesville hospital on Dec. 6, hours after the Gators lost to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game. School spokesman Steve McClain told the media at the time that Meyer was treated for dehydration.

"I have three children that mean more to me than anything. I have a football team that means more to me than anything, and I didn't want it to get out at all," Meyer said. "We were very careful. I didn't want alarm, and I think at some point, whether you're a football coach or whether you're a lawyer or whatever, you'd think at some point there would be a lot of respect for families involved and children and 11-year-old boys and 16-year-old girls and 19-year-old girls. [You] do what you've got to do to protect them.

"If that means not come clean with full details about something very personal - if you can't understand that then first of all you've got to re-check yourself. Second of all, I think at some point you certainly will understand that."

Details of what happened on Dec. 6 have emerged from various sources during the past three weeks, including a copy of the 911 call that Meyer's wife Shelley made. On the call, Shelley Meyer says her husband awoke with chest pain and a tingling in his side. She also said Meyer had taken a sleeping pill, was hard to wake up and fell to the floor getting out of bed.

Meyer was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and underwent nine hours of testing. He has denied that he suffered a heart attack but has refused to elaborate on the exact nature of his health concerns. He also said he suffered what he called "a couple issues after that" but is not sure if he will need to undergo any medical procedures in the coming months to correct his problem. …

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