At the time, the health scare that forced Florida coach Urban Meyer's brief retirement in December sounded genuinely terrifying: Meyer admitted he collapsed and had to be rushed to a Gainesville hospital the night of his team's loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, and that he'd been suffering from chest pains so intense they were "controlling my life" for more than two years since his arrival at Florida. They were at least serious enough that his wife assured the Orlando Sentinel that there was "no chance" he would change his mind about retirement, and even when he did change his mind just a few hours later, the decision was all the more baffling for the complete absence of a diagnosis beyond "chest pains."
Six months later, long after it became abundantly clear that Meyer will be staring and pointing as intensely as ever on the Gator sideline this fall, we have an answer, on the record: Meyer was suffering from esophageal spasms, described by the Mayo Clinic as "an uncoordinated series of muscle contractions that prevent food from traveling properly from your esophagus to your stomach."
In other words, it wasn't his heart. So yes, Gator haters, you may go back to assuming he doesn't have one.
Meyer has apparently found complete relief through medication, and expects no further complications. It's a fair assumption, given his obsessive tendencies as a coach, that he expects only the best from his internal organs, and if his esophagus could talk, we'd like to think we'd hear something like this:
"I promise you one thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any esophagus in the entire country swallow as hard as I will swallow the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the food down as hard as I will push the rest of the season. You will never see a digestive system break down food harder."
Our (geniune) best wishes for the continued health of Coach Meyer, without whom the SEC would be a much less terrifying – which is to say, interesting – beat to cover.
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Holly welcomes your adulation and veiled threats at nastinchka-at-yahoo, etc.