(Facebook.com)Tim Harkins thought it was a cell phone problem at first.
The Wyoming assistant athletic director in charge of media relations was on the phone with veteran college football reporter Natalie Meisler on Wednesday when Meisler’s sentences started breaking up.
“We had been talking for, I don’t know, three or four minutes and she had told me, ‘Well, wait a second, I need to grab something,’ " Harkins told Yahoo! Sports. "At first I wasn’t sure if it was a bad connection on the phone and then I kind of told her, 'Natalie, I’m having trouble hearing you.' And then I could tell that she was trying to talk, but was having trouble talking. After 30 seconds to a minute of that, I kind of had an idea of what was happening.”
Meisler, a former Denver Post reporter with whom Harkins had worked with for more than 20 years, was having a major stroke.
Meisler was recovering in a Boulder hospital on Thursday, but it could have been much worse. Were it not for the presence of mind of Harkins, the quick thinking of an assistant in the Wyoming athletic department and several other people in the Colorado State athletic department, things could have turned out very different.
Making a quick diagnosis of Meisler's condition seems almost impossible for someone who was talking to her over the phone more than 100 miles away. But Harkins had seen these signs before. His father had a stroke when he was in college and he immediately snapped into action.
“Tim was in his office with the door closed and all of a sudden he comes running out and says,
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