Jerry Kill taking time off from Gophers to focus on epilepsy - FOX 35 News Orlando

Jerry Kill on leave from Gophers to focus on epilepsy treatment

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Jerry Kill will continue to take time away from the Gophers football program to focus on his epilepsy treatment, University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague said Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will continue to serve as acting head coach during Jerry Kill's absence.

"He has made this decision to try this before, but as he's felt better, he's put it off," Claeys explained. "It's a big step for him."

Kill has suffered five game-day seizures in three seasons with the Gophers, including a seizure that kept him home from the team's game at Michigan last weekend. The latter prompted the decision for Kill to focus on his health until his doctors give him the all-clear to head back to the sidelines.

Kill could return to the sidelines as soon as Oct. 19 at Northwestern, but no matter what happens, Claeys insisted that the players will continue to come first.

The Gophers are on a bye week and do not play this Saturday.

JERRY KILL STATEMENT

"My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks. This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision. Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in Coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon."

NORWOOD TEAGUE STATEMENT

"Coach Kill is taking time to continue treatment and focus on managing his Epilepsy. Tracy Claeys will serve as the interim head coach until Coach Kill is ready to return. Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed. Our support for Coach Kill is unwavering and we look forward to his return to full-time coaching duties.

"This is a great group of student-athletes under the guidance of one of the longest-tenured and most respected staffs in college football, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to move this program forward and make us proud."

U OF M PRESIDENT ERIC KALER STATEMENT

"Athletics Director Norwood Teague and Coach Kill are managing this health situation, as it relates to our football program, in the most straightforward and caring manner possible. They are acting in the best interests of this University, its alumni and fans and, most importantly, the student-athletes who have placed their trust in us. I eagerly look forward to Coach Kill's return and wish him all the best."

EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF MINNESOTA STATEMENT

"The Epilepsy Foundation of MN applauds the University of Minnesota's support of Coach Kill for his leave to seek further treatment for his epilepsy. 60,000 people in MN and ND have epilepsy and many of them are in our workforce. Thankfully there are medical leave laws that protect people when dealing with health issues. The Foundation is eager for Coach Kill to return to the sidelines!" - Executive Director Vicki Kopplin

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