Columnist says Coach Kill "not healthy enough" to lead program


 Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan is generating comments with his Sunday piece on Gopher Coach Jerry Kill's future with the University of Minnesota’s football program following a Saturday night seizure on the field at TCF Bank Stadium. Souhan said that Kill's condition has made the program, "...and by extension the entire school...the subject of pity and ridicule."

Jerry Kill is reportedly resting comfortably at home. Two hours after he left the field on a stretcher at halftime, he was released from the hospital. It was the third time he has had a seizure during a Gopher game. The Gophers scored 29-12 victory over Western Illinois before an announced crowd of 42,217.

Souhan described Kill as "...a good man earnestly trying to elevate a woeful program while searching for ways to manage his disease," but asks if the increased frequency of Kill's seizures make him fit to continue. "The face of your program can’t belong to someone who may be rushed to the hospital at any moment of any game, or practice, or news conference," Souhan wrote. "No one who buys a ticket to TCF Bank Stadium should be rewarded with the sight of a middle-aged man writhing on the ground."

He concluded, "Kill is not healthy enough to lead."

Meanwhile, on, national columnist Greg Doyel raises the question of whether Kill himself should be the person who makes the decision about his future role at Minnesota. He describes the dilemma as "heartbreaking."

Dovel said that one side of the argument is that if Kill is willing to take a personal risk with his health, that should resolve the question. Then he poses the other side of that argument, asking, "What if he has a fatal seizure during a game, in full view of the stadium?" He continues, "People die from epileptic seizures."

Dovel said the odds of Sudden Unexpected Death In Epilepsy happens to about one in 1,000 epilepsy sufferers per year. But he reported that, according to, the odds "...go way up for people who, like Kill, have more frequent seizures -- as high as one in 150 people. Could Jerry Kill be that one in 150? Gosh I hope not."

On its Two Cents poll in the Pioneer Press, the question was posed: "After his third seizure during a game, should Jerry Kill continue to coach the Gophers?" By late morning Sunday, more than 500 votes had been cast, with 60 percent of those responding to the nonscientific poll responding yes, 30 percent voting no and ten percent replying that they didn't know.

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