Jerry Kill said he has never been comfortable talking about epilepsy.
After a seizure during a game last September, his fourth since taking over as the University of Minnesota’s football coach in 2011, Kill realized he had to talk about it.
His dealing with epilepsy is also one reason why he wound up speaking on Monday evening at the 400 Supper Club before a couple hundred spectators. Proceeds from the banquet benefited the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.
“It’s not something I want to talk publicly about a whole lot,” Kill admitted. “I was trying to make a bad situation and make it a positive.”
Another reason for his rare visit to the area was to grant a wish for 92-year-old Bob Sandberg through My Bucket List, a Central Minnesota non-profit foundation that fulfills the wishes of those facing a terminal illness.
Sandberg, who is under hospice care and lives in St. Cloud, is believed to be the oldest living Gopher football captain. He was captain of the 1946 team.
Kill mentioned Sunday’s lengthy St. Cloud Times story on Sandberg during his talk.
“My resume takes about three sentences,” he said. “I hope when I grow up, I reach all the accomplishments you have.”
Kill said his seizure during a Sept. 14 game against Western Illinois and the reaction to it changed how he dealt with epilepsy.
He has become a spokesman at the urging of Vicki Kopplin, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.