Gallagher column: Young recovering from heart attack ... at a ballgame
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan football coach Scott Young sat by the left-field fence on Tuesday watching son Bryant play baseball at West Rowan Middle School.
Today, he expects to be watching his Falcon football team go through a spring workout.
Nothing seems unusual about that. That’s pretty much Young’s routine every April.
What is unusual is that the 41-year-old is doing it after spending the previous five days in two different hospitals trying to recover from his second heart attack in a year-and-a-half.
Back in October of 2011, Young suffered a heart attack, drove himself to the hospital on a Monday and recovered enough to be in the press box at West Iredell four days later to see his team wrap up its eighth straight North Piedmont Conference championship.
But a one-day recovery after a second heart attack? Well, he had to be with his boy, you know?
“I haven’t been outside but five minutes in the last five days,” he said. “I told the doctors it would hurt me more if I wasn’t here. I really do think if I wasn’t watching our children play, it would be more stress on me. I think that would kill me.”
There were looks of bewilderment on the faces who attended the East-Rowan-West baseball game Friday when word spread that Young was in Rowan Regional again due to his heart.
Could this have happened again?
“In October of ’11, I weighed 270,” said Young, who had two stents inserted then for blockage. “They weighed me this time and I was 230. I was exercising and eating right.”
He went to bed last Wednesday but in the wee hours of Thursday, he was in the emergency room.
“He didn’t drive himself this time,” wife Diane reported.
“Chest pressure and nausea,” Young said. “Just knew something wasn’t right.”
Was it a heart attack?
“They said it wasn’t,” he noted. “Then, they said it was a mild one with no damage. Then it became a full heart attack.”
Doctors wanted to check out the electronics of his heart and the only place they could do that, according to Young, was Presbyterian in Charlotte. He was taken there on Sunday.
“They hooked me up (Monday) for an hour and told me I was free to go home,” Young said.
The first reaction of most was that they were glad Scott Young was smiling again.
The second? He won’t be able to coach anymore, will he? Not with the stress of today’s sports, even at the high school level.
“I don’t think I could ever fathom life without coaching,” said Young, who will enter his 20th year in the fall, 15 as West’s head man. “I may have to restructure how I do things. I may have to give people more responsibilities.”
With a sigh he added, “Eventually, I may have to go back to an assistant’s role.”
Now, that seems unfathomable for one of the state’s most well-known coaches. Not many can say they’ve won three North Carolina championships in a row.
South Iredell coach Brian Miller had his Vikings say a team prayer for Young. And the outpouring of affection while he was in the hospital humbled him.
“It has been tremendous,” Young said. “One of my assistants cut our grass.”
He won’t be back at West before Thursday and has driving restrictions until Friday. So if he wants to watch practice today, he’ll have to get a ride.
“My mom has to take me to the dentist on Friday,” he laughed. “Can you believe that?”
Young was doing his best at West Rowan Middle to let everyone know how much he appreciates his community. Rowan County has proven time and again what a special place it is once the games are over.
Young also didn’t want them to worry.
“The tests were negative,” he said. “I’ve got to trust the doctors. I assume they know what they’re doing. I’ll just try to lose more weight and eat even better.”
With two heart attacks in such a short period, Young was asked if it was hereditary.
“That’s what they keep saying it could be,” he said. “I hope not.”
But as far as Young was concerned, that kind of talk took a backseat Tuesday to following his kid and enjoying sports, which is no stress at all for him.
“I feel good,” he beamed. “I’m ready to watch some baseball.”
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.