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Athletics Department - News

Benedict coach reflects on halftime heart attack

March 26, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Benedict football Coach Stan Conner says he feels like he's been given a second chance.

Conner had to step away from the game for a little while after suffering a heart attack last fall at the age of 46, but he's made a complete recovery and is back at work.

It's been nearly five months since Conner was able to be on the practice field with his Benedict team.

Late last season during the Tigers' final home game, Conner was having chest pains during halftime.

"I could tell that something just wasn't right. I didn't know what, but something wasn't right," said Conner.

Conner made the decision to leave the game and go to the hospital.

"I could have stayed, tried to be a tough guy. I could have been in serious trouble," said Conner.

"What's really going on? We were like shocked. We were clueless about what happened," said Benedict quarterback Robert Spence.

Thankfully Benedict's stadium is only minutes away from Providence Hospital. The doctors told Conner he had suffered a heart attack.

"I couldn't believe it. When I heard them talking and they said heart attack. I couldn't believe it," said Conner.

Now Conner is facing reality. He's made significant lifestyle changes.

"I still ate like an athlete, but you know I'm not an athlete any more," said Conner.

The coach also makes sure he gets a good cardio workout every day.

"Take the time out of your busy schedule and do it or you're going to have a lot of time to do it," said Conner.

The coach has made another change as well. He knows he has to be calmer during practice and games.

"He's not yelling at us and real outspoken. Showing it by example by getting himself really rowdied up," said Spence.

"I know now that I'm a better person. The situation I was in, I couldn't be at my best," said Conner.

Reported by Rick Henry

Source: WIS-TV

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