Home NFL Houston Texans Gary Kubiak leaves game on stretcher, will remain under medical evaluation

Gary Kubiak leaves game on stretcher, will remain under medical evaluation

Gary Kubiak

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed as he was running off the field at halftime at Reliant Stadium Sunday night, the team said. Kubiak, 52, was evaluated for stroke-like symptoms, a person close to the situation said. Kubiak did not suffer a stroke, the person said, but is undergoing further evaluation, including an MRI.

The Texans said that Kubiak did not suffer a heart attack but released no other details other than to say the coach was conscious and had a strong heart rate before leaving the stadium. He was joined at the hospital by his family.

Texans general manager Rick Smith said in a postgame interview on NBC that Kubiak was “lightheaded and dizzy and went to a knee.” Smith said the team will “have to assess” when Kubiak will return to the team.  “Obviously, there’s a lot of information to be gathered, and I don’t want to speculate at  this point.”

A TV replay of Kubiak’s fall showed the coach grimacing in pain while personnel surrounded him. Kubiak remained on the ground several minutes before being wheeled into the northwest tunnel of Reliant.

“I saw him on the ground and I was asking, ‘What happened?’ ” said Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who filled in the rest of the game as head coach. “That’s kind of how it was with everybody, with everybody asking, ‘What happened? What happened? What happened? There was a lot of unknown. … It was a shock to everybody.”

As Kubiak was removed from the stadium, the majority of the Texans’ other coaches raced from a bottom-level hallway to an elevator, rushing to the press box area for the start of the second half. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was in the group and took over play-calling for the Texans in the third and fourth quarters.

Phillips remained with the team’s players as the Texans lost to the Indianapolis Colts 27-24.
“It was really weird,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “We were very worried …  but once we found out he was OK, we were able to stay focused.”

Kubiak is the second NFL coach in two days to deal with health issues. Denver’s John Fox became lightheaded Saturday while playing golf. He’ll undergo surgery to replace a heart valve, missing several weeks of action. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer initially cited health concerns after stepping down at the University of Florida.

Kubiak is the second Houston professional coach in the last 14 years to collapse during a game. In 1999, Astros manager Larry Dierker collapsed in the Astrodome dugout with a seizure and underwent surgery to repair a ruptured arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of malformed blood vessels in his brain.

Coach Kubiak is alert and coherent but will remain with medical personnel at a local hospital for at least the next 24 hours, the Texans announced Monday. “Our primary concern is of course with Gary’s health and well-being,” general manager Rick Smith said in a press release. “There have been so many people throughout the city and across the country that have reached out to express their love and support and we are thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers.  Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits.  He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored.”

Nicholas Norman is a founder and contributor at "DistinctAthlete.com." He is also the sports editor for long standing newspaper in Houston called "The Houston Forward Times." Nicholas had a love for sports at a young age growing up in South Carolina. He became one of the top football prospects coming out of high school and decided to play collegiate football at Troy University. You can follow Nicholas on twitter @nicholasanorman