Harbaugh feels for coaches having health issues

Harbaugh feels for coaches having health issues
November 5, 2013, 12:45 pm
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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Last weekend was scary for two NFL coaches, with John Fox of the Broncos and Gary Kubiak of the Texans both stricken with health issues. Fox had heart surgery Monday to replace an aortic valve. Kubiak remained in the hospital Tuesday undergoing tests after collapsing during halftime Sunday night.

Coaching is a stressful profession, and the health episodes involving Fox and Kubiak touched Ravens coach John Harbaugh on a personal level.

“I’m really good friends with John Fox, and I know Gary Kubiak pretty well, obviously, professionally,” Harbaugh said Monday. “I go back with John and Robin (Fox) back to Pittsburgh in 1987. He’s doing OK from what I’ve been told. 

Harbaugh said he has always encouraged his staff to be mindful of health issues, despite the long working hours.

“I don’t know if anybody out there really cares, but you’re here all the time as a coach. It’s not something that you spend time doing anything else. It’s not like you go home at night and have dinner and talk with the wife and kids about the job and how it went. You’re here. We try to do a great job with our families, where the families can come in and have dinner and stuff Tuesday night and Monday night and Wednesday night and be a part of it as much as we can. We encourage our guys to exercise as much as possible. We’ve got a pretty good facility here to do that. Sometimes, it’s hard to do it, and I tell them, ‘It’s not that hard. It’s just right down the hallway, go down there and try to get some exercise.’

Yet, the demands of coaching remain, and Harbaugh understood why the stress of coaching could lead to health issues.

“You’ve got a bunch of highly-competitive people clashing every Sunday , and the stakes are high,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody works really, really hard at it, and there’s a lot of pressure, and that’s the way it should be. That’s OK, but that doesn’t make it any less demanding. So, our hearts and prayers definitely go out to those two guys.”