Getting physicals first step for NFL coaches

Getting physicals first step for NFL coaches
November 5, 2013, 3:36 pm
Share This Post

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, right, and quarterback Michael Vick run during practice at the NFL football team's training facility in Philadelphia. Kelly realizes there are plenty of stressful jobs besides being an NFL coach _ police officers, firefighters, doctors to name a few. The Eagles' coach and his staff have regular physicals, a practice assuming more importance now that two NFL coaches had health scares in the same weekend. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(APWF)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) For Chip Kelly, work is not an excuse to neglect your health.

NFL coaches received a scary wake-up call over the weekend when Denver's John Fox and Houston's Gary Kubiak were hospitalized. Naturally, everyone blames the hazards of the profession. Long hours, pressure to win and intense scrutiny make it a high-stress job.

It's difficult for coaches to maintain a healthy balance when they have one of the 32 most coveted jobs in the world in a profession where being a workaholic is glorified.

That doesn't mean coaches should reserve a spot at the nearest emergency room and wait for the ambulance ride.

''I don't say: `Hey, it could happen to anybody because I understand what goes on because I do it,''' Kelly said. ''I also know there's a lot of people that have stressful jobs. There's firemen, policemen, doctors. There's everybody. Whether you're a football coach or anybody, you should take notice of what happened and just make sure that you can be preventive in what goes on.

''You have to have balance and take care of yourself.''

Kelly, a rookie coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, and his staff make sure to get their annual physical examinations. It's not mandatory around the league, but common practice for many teams.

''The organization is pretty proactive in terms of that aspect of it, but it's something I think everybody should be aware of,'' Kelly said.

The importance of a routine check-up can't be understated. Some coaches may not be aware they have a health issue until they see a doctor.

Longtime Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said there was one instance a few years ago when an assistant coach had a heart ailment and was gaining weight. Tyer and the team doctor were so concerned about the coach's health that he went to owner Dan Snyder, who encouraged the coach to retire. Snyder even paid the coach his salary for another year rather than have him stay on and risk having a heart attack.

Getting a complete physical is only the first step, however. Exercise and proper nutrition are necessary for everyone to maintain good health. Many coaches have the luxury of working at a place that has world-class fitness equipment, dietitians on staff and chefs preparing meals.

''We encourage guys to work out during the season because again it helps you mentally and physically when guys work out,'' Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak said. ''It's important to take care of yourself no matter what your profession is.''

Coaches often fall into bad eating habits because of the long hours they work. There don't punch timecards and overtime only relates to deciding a tie game. So, if they don't pack healthy snacks or meals for the late-night hours, they may end up eating fast-food or ordering from take-out menus every night. That certainly will take its toll.

''The biggest problem I have is you eat dinner around 5:30 or 6 and you are still working late at night and your body is craving just about every four or five hours,'' Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. ''So when it's 10ish, you start getting hungry.''

Then there's the problem of sleep-deprivation. Coaches like Joe Gibbs and Dick Vermeil were legendary for sleeping at the office. Some guys might not see their families for a week.

''If you wanted to, you could be in your office for 24 hours and still not feel like you are prepared enough,'' Shula said. ''But you need to have balances and first of all make sure you eat right, exercise and then make sure you're still a husband and a father.''

Shula is fortunate to work under Ron Rivera and owner Jerry Richardson.

''One of the things here I appreciate is Mr. Richardson's attitude about this being a family atmosphere and I stress to our guys: `Hey, get your work done and get home,''' Rivera said.

Rivera and other coaches have to be mindful of their assistants who may overdo it and push themselves too hard to get ahead.

''You've got to be careful because there's a lot of hours, a lot of pressure,'' Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said, ''and you've got to keep an eye on your coaches because when they do get sick, a lot of times they can hurt themselves.''

--

AP Sports Writers Joseph White in Washington, Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

--

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

--

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

Texans - Team News
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is inactive for Monday night's Week 7 game against the Steelers. Clowney's lateral agility wasn't where the Texans wanted it to be in pre-game warmups. He's been out since undergoing knee surgery after Week 1. Whitney Mercilus is...
Oct 20 6:09PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins (hand) is probable for Week 7. The Texans listed Hopkins on the injury report, but his status was never in doubt. He'll be a WR3 for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 18 2:54PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) is probable for Monday night's game against the Steelers. Foster was limited on Thursday, but practiced in full the last two days. He should have another heavy workload against a Steelers defense that's allowing 4.4 yards per carry...
Oct 18 2:48PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was upgraded to full in Saturday's practice and is listed as probable for... Johnson is good to go for Monday night's matchup with the Steelers. He's Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 18 2:39PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against... Clowney got in two limited practices this week, but said he still "can't run laterally." He could be held out in an attempt to get fully healthy for Week 8. If...
Oct 18 2:20PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) returned to practice Friday. It was Clowney's first practice since undergoing knee surgery in Week 1. He's expected to be a game-time decision for Monday night. Clowney will likely be on a limited snap...
Oct 17 6:08PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) was upgraded to full in Friday's practice. Foster suffered a groin injury in last Thursday's loss to the Colts, but his Week 7 status isn't in doubt. He should be fine for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 17 6:02PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Friday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he's expected to play on Monday night. Johnson is Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 17 5:53PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins is listed on the Week 7 injury report with a hand issue, but is practicing in... Hopkins must have tweaked something in last week's loss to the Colts. It won't affect his WR3 status for Week 7.
Oct 16 4:22PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Thursday's practice. The Texans have made a habit of limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he hasn't been limited in games. He'll be a WR2 for Monday's game against the Steelers.
Oct 16 4:20PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Thursday's practice with a groin injury. It's a new ailment for Foster, but it doesn't appear to be anything that's going to cast doubt on his status for Monday night's game against the Steelers. It's never wise to...
Oct 16 4:19PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) will be a game-time decision for Monday's tilt with the... "It's getting closer to game time and we'll know better as we move closer to game time," coach Bill O'Brien said Thursday. "If he were to play against...
Oct 16 3:41PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Coach Bill O'Brien said OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) has a 50-50 chance of returning to the... The Texans and Steelers play on Monday night. Clowney has been sidelined since going down with a torn meniscus in the season opener. J.J. Watt is single-handedly carrying...
Oct 15 9:28AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is targeting Week 7 against the Steelers to return. Clowney is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The first overall pick in May's draft would add a needed edge presence with J.J. Watt wreaking havoc up front....
Oct 10 2:32PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed three times for 22 yards in Houston's Week 6 loss to the Colts. Blue was only called on when all-world workhorse Arian Foster needed a breather. Blue is a pure handcuff. He has no standalone value.
Oct 9 11:49PM Read More