Urban Meyer says he wanted to hide chest pains
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Wanting to protect his children and football team, Florida coach Urban Meyer was “very careful” about releasing information regarding his hospital stay following the Southeastern Conference championship game.
He hoped to keep private his chest pain, ambulance ride and diagnostic tests – at least until he had a chance to tell those closest to him.
“I have three children that mean more to me than anything. I have a football team that means more to me than anything. I didn’t want it to get out at all,” Meyer said at a Sugar Bowl news conference Thursday. “We were very careful. I didn’t want anyone alarmed.”
“And I think at some point, whether you’re a football coach, whether you’re a lawyer or whatever, you 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,” he added.
“Do what you have to do to protect them. If that means not coming clean with full details about something very personal, if you can’t understand that, then first of all, I think you’ve got to recheck yourself. And then second of all, I think at some point you certainly will understand that.”
According to a 911 recording, Meyer complained of chest pain and said his side was tingling before he was hospitalized Dec. 6.
Meyer’s wife told an Alachua County dispatcher that her 45-year-old husband had a pulse but wasn’t talking when she contacted emergency officials at 4:27 a.m., hours after the Gators returned home from a 32-13 loss to Alabama.
“My husband’s having chest pains,” Shelley Meyer said. “He’s having chest pains, he just woke up in the middle of the night and said he’s having chest pains.”
Shelley Meyer said her husband had taken a sleeping pill that night and had suffered chest pains before. She repeatedly tried to rouse Meyer, who was lying on his stomach on the floor.
“Urban, Urban, talk to me,” she says.
The 911 recording first was obtained by ESPN.
Initial reports indicated the Florida coach checked into a Gainesville hospital, where he was treated for dehydration and released. Shelley Meyer told dispatchers her husband was breathing and appeared to be grunting.
“He almost sounds like he’s kind of trying to cry,” she said.
Meyer abruptly resigned last Saturday, citing health problems, and then decided he would instead take an indefinite leave of absence. He plans to coach the fifth-ranked Gators in the Sugar Bowl against No. 4 Cincinnati on Friday night.
He declined to answer questions about his health Thursday as well as the timing of his announcement.
“I think there will be an appropriate time to address some of those situations,” Meyer said. “Today would not be the day. This is about a celebration of a great football game with two really good teams, one undefeated team and one team that was undefeated until the SEC championship game.”