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Updated: October 5th, 2013 11:07pm
The 'U' should have a discussion following Jerry Kill's latest seizure

The 'U' should have a discussion following Jerry Kill's latest seizure

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

Jerry Kill wasn't feeling well Friday and didn't travel with the team to Michigan. While in Minnesota, he had another seizure on Saturday, his second documented episode this season.

He had one Sept. 14 on the sideline just before halftime in the Gophers home win over Western Illinois. He went to the hospital and missed the second half of the game.

This time, of course, Kill missed the entire game.

In his previous public episode, his team rallied in the second half without him and beat the Leatherbacks. The suggestion from the team is that his gameday interaction with players is minimal, and the staff is so cohesive that it can sustain when Kill isn't there. And that appeared to be the case, as the Gophers were clearly the better team on the field in the second half Sept. 14.

This time, there was no such rally. Michigan was the better team all day. And even though the halftime score was close (14-7), Minnesota was thoroughly out-played and overmatched in the second half Saturday.

Through six games, the head coach has missed six quarters.

The University needs to look carefully, thoughtfully and honestly at the situation in which it finds itself. Kill is under contract at more than $1 million dollars per year through the 2017 season.  The athletics department and administration at the University need to decide if they can maintain the status quo.

Furthermore, Kill, for his own sake, should do the same. He should assess the situation on a macro level and decide if this job is right for him and his family. Both parties, the University and the Kills, should want what is best for his health. The athletics department has stated its unconditional support in keeping Kill around. But if it's detrimental to his health to keep this job - and we don't know that it is or that it isn't - then some important questions must be answered.

He is a proud man and by all accounts a hard worker. He hasn't hidden recently from his condition and he's been said to be frustrated by his setbacks this season. But introspectively, and in conjunction with his wife, Rebecca, Jerry Kill should assess if the job is a detriment to his health.

I don't know that it is. His epileptic seizures may be unrelated to the stressful, demanding job of leading a Big 10 football program.

There comes a point, though, even if it's not damaging his health (if his seizures may occur regardless of the job) that it isn't worth it.

Kill has nothing to prove to me. He's demonstrated his toughness. Under his watch, the Gophers football team has taken small steps in the right direction to salvage the program from the dumpster-fire state Tim Brewster left it in.

Pride should not be a part of this personal health decision. I'm sensitive to the fact it's a private matter. But the public nature of his job requires a discussion about his health as it relates to his ability to perform his job.

We should be respectful of that decision-making process. But we should also acknowledge that there needs to be a process. No longer can the program shrug off Kill's seizures as no big deal.

We can simultaneously accept these two truths: people with epilepsy need not be defined by the condition; and that Kill may not be capable of successfully running the program if his condition persists and his doctors cannot better control his gameday seizures.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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