The NFL has made considerable strides in protecting the health of its players. But after the recent incidents involving two head coaches on the same weekend, is it time to start considering the health of its coaches?
On Saturday, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox was taken to a hospital after he reportedly became dizzy while playing a round of golf. At first, it was believed that Fox had a heart attack, but tests later revealed that he didn’t. On Sunday, news broke that Fox will be undergoing heart surgery and will miss roughly two months.
On Sunday, Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak then collapsed while walking to the locker room for halftime. Kubiak didn’t even make it off the field before dropping to his knees and eventually to his back. He was rushed to a hospital, where it was determined that his heart rate was normal. He was with his family and the hospital trip was merely a precaution.
While player safety is certainly something that should rule the NFL since it is such a dangerous game, they can’t forget about the coaches. While they aren’t the ones running around the field slamming into each other, the daily grind of being a head coach takes quite a toll on the body.
Coaches — not just head coaches — don’t get much sleep. Their line of work is extremely stressful and many an energy drink and unhealthy snack is consumed just to get through the daily grind and complete all of their necessary tasks.
It’s common sense, really. The longer you stay in the business, the worse things can become for you health-wise. Fox started his coaching career back in 1978 as a graduate assistant at San Diego State and broke into the NFL in 1989 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For Kubiak, he began coaching back in 1992 with Texas A&M and started his NFL career in 1994.
When you’re as busy as a football coach is, you don’t always have time to take care of your health. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just that you’re too busy to. Some coaches can find the time to do it, but that often means giving up much-needed sleep to fit in some exercise time.
Whether it’s forcing coaches to cut back on their hours or making them take health and nutrition courses, some sort of plan needs to be put in place to protect the health of the coaches. They could make coaches take mandatory exercise breaks, limit the number of hours that they can work or simply give them some material to make them understand that they need to take care of themselves. Whatever it may be, there has to be something to help them.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should start looking into the health habits of their coaches. While it’s unfortunate that this had to happen to wake up the NFL to it, it was bound to happen eventually. Now it’s up to the NFL to act on this to prevent scares like this from happening again. You never know — the next incident could be much worse than a scare.