Last night, Sunday Night Football viewers stood witness as Houston Texans’ 52-year-old Coach Gary Kubiak was wheeled off the field at Reliant Stadium on a stretcher, surrounded by paramedics, staff and family.
Reports from Sunday night indicate Kubiak did not have a heart attack and that he was coherent and speaking. Nevertheless, the stretcher was loaded into an ambulance and Kubiak was taken a Houston area hospital with family members at his side.
Today, sources indicate Kubiak is still undergoing evaluation but he was said to be suffering from “stroke-like symptoms.” This is borne out by further reports that Kubiak was being treated with an intravenous drug designed to break up clots in stroke victims called a Tissue plasminogen activator.
Kubiak’s condition is stable, per reports, and his vital signs are within normal parameters. There will be more tests conducted today to get to the bottom of exactly what happened on the sidelines and the field on Sunday night.
Film from CBS shows Kubiak holding his head as players jogged off the field at halftime. As he tried to join them, he was in apparent distress, but no one responded until he leaned over and put his hands on his thighs. Soon Kubiak fell to his knees and was instantly surrounded.
CBS’s Michele Tafoya spoke with Houston’s General Manager Rick Smith after the game but there was no new information to be had at that time. Smith reported Kubiak felt dizzy and light-headed and the trip to the hospital was a precautionary measure to be certain no underlying issues lay at the root of Kubiak’s “episode.” Smith expressed the hope that Kubiak would be back with the team sometime today, but with the developing information on a possible stroke, such a quick return is cast in serious doubt.
Kubiak has no publicly known major health issues, and no apparent history of heart or stroke issues. That does not mean that he could not have had a stroke or a heart attack, simply that as far as fans and the media are aware Kubiak is a relatively healthy man in his prime. Medical sources are not reporting that the coach did have a stroke, but he is being treated as if he did. Tafoya reported that Kubiak appeared to be in considerable pain as he was being attended on the field, could not open his eyes, and was unable to sit up.
Texans’ officials stress that Kubiak never lost consciousness and did not have a heart attack or a stroke, but GM Smith admitted there were far too many unknowns to make an assessment at this time. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips echoed this in the post-game press conference, again having no new information to give the media or concerned fans.
KHOU reports Kubiak is “in good spirits” and will remain in the hospital for the next 24 hours as tests are run. He is being treated and under observation at Methodist Hospital. He was being tested for dehydration and exhaustion overnight in an effort to eliminate possible causes of the collapse.
Speculation among fans is as high as their concern. Radio stations and television networks in the area have been flooded with well-wishers by phone and internet. The Texans and their fans have not always agreed but it seems the entire city is pulling for Kubiak’s quick recovery.
Even though current reports have ruled it out, Kubiak’s symptoms give rise to the notion that he may have had a slight stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients needed for proper functionality. Without this steady supply of blood, brain cells can begin to die, leading to physical or mental disability. At this point, it can be no more than a guessing game. Fans across the NFL await updates on Kubiak’s condition and look forward to his return to the field and to good health.
By Brandi Tasby