Ohio State's Urban Meyer addresses his future, details history of brain surgery and 'aggressive headaches'

Yahoo Sports
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer watches from the sideline during Ohio State’s loss to Purdue on Oct. 20, 2018. (AP)
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer watches from the sideline during Ohio State’s loss to Purdue on Oct. 20, 2018. (AP)

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, in an effort to address questions about his health, detailed to Yahoo Sports on Tuesday the medical history that has led to his sometimes pained looks on the sideline this season.

Since kneeling down on the sideline in a game against Indiana on Oct. 6 because of severe headaches, Meyer has been peppered with questions about his health and future in coaching. He said the cause of the discomfort links back to a congenital arachnoid cyst in his brain, which has led to severe headaches at times in his career.

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“The past four years, we’ve been working closely with coach Meyer to monitor and manage the symptoms that have risen from his enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, Meyer’s personal physician and the chief clinical officer at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “This includes aggressive headaches, which have particularly flared up the past two years.”

Meyer had brain surgery in the spring of 2014 after suffering consistent headaches for nearly a month. The complex surgery removed a subdural fluid collection caused by the cyst to relieve increased intracranial pressure, according to Dr. Thomas.

“Over the last few years, I’ve felt better and, with the help of my doctors, learned to manage it and monitor it with medication,” Meyer said in a phone interview. “I’m optimistic that this time won’t be any different.”

Meyer decided to outline his medical history because of persistent questions about his future as Ohio State’s coach. He reiterated to Yahoo Sports that he has no plans to step down at Ohio State, but wanted to be fully transparent about his health issues to alleviate questions about his future. “I just want people to know what’s going on,” Meyer said. “I’ve been dealing with this for several years.”

Meyer was diagnosed with the cyst in his brain in 1998 while an assistant coach at Notre Dame. Throughout his coaching career, he’s been prone to severe headaches.

After the 2014 surgery, Meyer managed the pain. It flared up at times in 2015 and 2016. But the past two seasons, he’s endured what he calls “severe pain” at times. Through medication and monitoring by his doctors, Meyer has been able to manage this. But he admits there have been times that he has to manage how intense he can be at practice and in games.

The most visible manifestation of this came during that Indiana game. Meyer went down on one knee and was attended to by both a team athletic trainer and a team doctor because of a headache tied to the cyst.

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