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Florida football assistants 'very grateful' for extensive health tests

GAINESVILLE — In the aftermath of his health scare in December, Florida coach Urban Meyer required his assistant coaches to have extensive medical tests this past spring to ensure they were in good health.

Several assistants said Tuesday that they took an "executive physical" — a decision made and enforced by Meyer — and the staff greatly appreciated it.

The tests performed at Shands at the University of Florida included blood work and stress tests, co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said, and they were unlike any in his previous five years at UF.

TEs coach Brian White said the tests revealed some health issues he had, and he is "very grateful I did it."

Meyer resigned in December, citing health reasons. A day later, he rejoined the staff, and after extensive tests and a leave of absence, he was diagnosed with esophageal spasms and takes medication daily for the pain.

DL coach Dan McCarney, a former head coach at Iowa State, said he has always believed in getting physicals because of the rigors of the job. But this time, he said, was above and beyond the norm.

"It was a great thing," he said. "It wasn't just go in and check your pulse. We got on the treadmills and sprinted, and they got your resting heart rate and your exercise heart rate. It makes you feel better, because unless you've been in this arena as a coach, most people don't really realize the toll it can take on you mentally and physically.

"I had a nuclear stress test where you get on there and they shoot stuff in so they can take pictures of your heart," said McCarney, 57. "I had all that done, and it was phenomenal. The best news I heard was, 'Your heart rate and your exercise rate's like a guy 20 years younger,' so that was good news for me."

Patchan hurt, again: Injuries continue to plague junior RT Matt Patchan.

The former Armwood High standout, who battled back from a severe right knee injury in September to be ready for the start of fall camp, will miss at least 10 days with a hairline fracture in his wrist, Meyer said.

Meanwhile, WR/RB Chris Rainey missed a few practices after being diagnosed with an accelerated heartbeat, and freshman WR Chris Dunkley has been hampered with hamstring injuries.

"Other than that, things are pretty good right now," Meyer said.

'Special' teams: Some decisions are still up in the air, but if all follows the plan, expect the return team to be full of speed.

"Chris Rainey is going to be involved in punt returning; Janoris Jenkins could be back there as well," Meyer said. "Kickoff return will be Jeff Demps (the reigning NCAA 100-meter champion), also Rainey (UF relay team member). We have Deonte Thompson. We are still trying out some of the young players like Chris Dunkley, but we will not know that until we scrimmage … this weekend."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3389.

Florida football assistants 'very grateful' for extensive health tests 08/10/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 8:00pm]
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