Florida Coach Urban Meyer Resigns Citing Health Issues

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In a shocking revelation today, Urban Meyer, the head football coach of the University of Florida Gators, announced that he would be resigning from coaching after the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. He has said that he needs to step down in order to focus more on faith, family, and his health.

Coach Meyer, age 45, has not yet made an official announcement on the health condition that he is dealing with except to say “I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family.”

On December 5th, after the Southeastern Conference championship game against Alabama, he was hospitalized with chest pains and dehydration. This has led to rumors of cardiovascular issues such as stroke and a defective heart muscle, but an anonymous source close to Meyer has said that these were false. “There was no heart damage,” Meyer said. “But I didn’t want there to be a bad day where there were three kids sitting around wondering what to do next. It was the pattern of what I was doing and how I was doing it. It was self-destructive.”

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Last month, Sports Illustrated chronicled the coaching career of Urban Meyer and reported that he suffered from persistent headaches caused by an arachnoid cyst diagnosed in the late 1990s. Arachnoid cysts are benign cysts that occur in the cerebrospinal axis (the brain and the spinal cord). Most are developmental anomalies and asymptomatic, but can become inflamed by stress and excitement. The cysts affect men more often than women, and the most common associated clinical features include headache, intracranial hypertension, and visual loss.

Elite coaching is a very stressful situation, and according to friends and co-workers, Coach Meyer had a tireless work ethic. According to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, coaches at this level experience a wide range of stressors, including conflict, pressure and expectation, athlete concerns, competition preparation and isolation. World-class coaches are more visible to the general public and the stressful situations can lead to burnout and emotional exhaustion.

Legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler can identify with Coach Meyer. In 1990, he retired because of health issues. In coaching, you work seven days a week, 12-14 hours a day. You're late to bed, eat on the run, you don't have time to take care of yourself or exercise. It probably takes its toll. I'm doing this in fairness to [my wife] Millie and my family and all the people interested in me."

Coach Meyer has scheduled a news conference in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon.

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