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Former NIU Coach Kill Improving, Could Return This Week

Jerry Kill is carted off Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Jerry Kill is carted off Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill could be back on the sideline as early as this week after collapsing during his team’s loss over the weekend.

Kill remained hospitalized Monday, recovering from a seizure suffered late in Saturday’s game against New Mexico State. His doctors offered an encouraging prognosis.

Dr. Pat Smith, the university’s physician, said Kill was “doing very well” and that his gut feeling was that Kill would “absolutely” be able to coach the team on Saturday against Miami of Ohio.

“The reality of this disorder is this is a common problem,” Smith said, saying Kill has a benign idiopathic seizure disorder. “People live normal lifestyles with this.”

In a statement distributed by the university, the 50-year-old Kill said he and his wife, Rebecca, were appreciative of the support he’s received.

“We’ve received great support from friends, fans and colleagues across the state of Minnesota and around the country, and I am humbled by all the get-well wishes,” Kill said. “I’m feeling better each day and hope to be back with the team soon. Until then, I have full confidence in my coaching staff to prepare our team to play its best this week.”

Kill collapsed on the sidelines in the closing seconds of the loss to the Aggies, silencing TCF Bank Stadium and stunning his players, who were seeing it for the first time. It’s the third time in his coaching career he has had a seizure on game day, with the other two coming while he coached at Southern Illinois.

Smith said Kill remained in the hospital for precautionary reasons. All tests done came back normal and doctors were looking at adjusting the medication Kill has taken for years. The other priority will be keeping the excitable coach hydrated, which can lead to a recurrence of seizures.

Smith said Kill was dehydrated when he arrived at the hospital.

“Shame on us for letting that happen,” Smith said. “We share that responsibility. That won’t happen again. We can easily manage that problem.”

Kill also had seizures on game day in 2001 and 2005, the latter occurring afterward in the office, while he was coaching Southern Illinois and had another while taping a show in 2006.

The doctor expected Kill to be discharged from the hospital “sooner rather than later,” but declined to put a specific timetable on when he would return to his duties.

Kill was hired away from Northern Illinois in January, and the Gophers were aware of his condition. He also told his players about the possibility of seizure before the season started.

“There’s medical management with current drugs in today’s world that can allow people to live absolutely normal lives,” Smith said. “We have to make sure that we are providing that for him. He’s had some issues of recurrence and breakthrough and we have to address that and make sure we can avoid it.”

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.