At the dawn of a new season, Jerry Kill has come to a pivotal juncture in his eight-year quest to gain control of his seizures.
As darkness fell over TCF Bank Stadium, the Gophers trooped onto the field for the second half against Michigan State. Fans hunched under blankets and sipped hot chocolate, braving 25-degree temperatures during Thanksgiving weekend.
But Minnesota’s coach remained inside. Jerry Kill had suffered another epileptic seizure in the locker room after players headed to the field, and he couldn’t make it back to the sideline.
So the final regular-season game went on without him. The Gophers stayed close until the fourth quarter, but their offense sputtered in a 26-10 loss.
Hours later, Kill and his wife, Rebecca, walked out of the empty stadium and headed home. It was, he said later, “about the lowest point of my life.” Not again. That’s all Kill could think — not again. This had been his fifth documented seizure in two years at Minnesota, the second to strike during a game. He knew people doubted him. He never wanted concerns about his health overshadowing his team’s performance.