Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Coach Counts His Blessings

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Coach Counts His Blessings

Article excerpt


DALLAS - There are certain times in people's lives when they gain a heightened sense of appreciation for unforeseen special moments.

In the last two months, Howard Roey has almost had too many to count. He survived a near-death experience, then had the luck this past weekend of attending the first World Series home game in Texas Rangers history and the Jaguars' 35-17 thumping of the Dallas Cowboys in a span of about 16 hours.

Roey, 71, who coached the Florida Community College at Jacksonville baseball team for 32 seasons (1970-2001) before his retirement, almost lost his life around Labor Day. He stubbornly ignored symptoms such as shortness of breath, a swollen right leg and general discomfort for more than a week.

"I had never been in a hospital except to visit people, and my health was always great because I worked out," Roey said. "I thought I was Superman. Nothing could slow me down. That's how arrogant I was. Well, I found out there's a lot of kryptonite out there."

Whether he was hitting golf balls on the range, exercising on a rowing machine or freestyle swimming, Roey allowed repeated shortness-of-breath episodes to go untreated. He thought it was "walking pneumonia." No big deal. Just something temporary. It'll go away, he figured.

Nothing was uncovered until after his oldest daughter, Jodi, relayed her father's symptoms to his youngest daughter, Melissa, a nurse. She surmised that her father had a blood clot in his right leg, the same condition that previously struck two of Melissa's in-laws.

She was right. Roey spent five days in a hospital, getting the treatments necessary to dissolve the clots and keep him out of danger.

"Somehow, my body managed to get by all that time without a piece breaking off and going to my heart or brain," Roey said. "I could easily not be here."

During the hospital stay, his son Richie, who lives in Dallas and works for a company that is a sponsor for the area's major sports teams, suggested Howard fly out for the Cowboys game to see the team's $1. …

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