Fourth quarter comebacks are one thing. But the threat of a real heart attack is a whole new experience for Thomson Football Coach Luther Welsh.
Almost two weeks ago, the 71-year-old Coach Welsh was hospitalized with chest pains. Doctors performed a thorough physical, ran tests and found nothing wrong with his heart or the rest of his circulatory system.
What they did find was kidney stones.
"The pain went up into my arm," Coach Welsh said. "Normally the pain stays right where the kidneys are. ... I've always heard people talk about heart problems when they have that kind of pain."
Coach Welsh returned home on Tuesday, Dec. 17 after an overnight hospital stay. And in true Coach Welsh fashion, he was back at Thomson High the next day.
His doctors told him that the stone causing the pain was too large to pass. Coach Welsh will have to return to the hospital on Dec. 30 to have the stone crushed through a non-surgical procedure.
If doctors are unable to crush the stone sufficiently, surgery may be the next option. But Coach Welsh hopes it doesn't come to that.
"He (the doctor) said he hoped that it's not really too hard that it will go ahead and break up," Coach Welsh said. "If it doesn't break up, then I guess they've got to go in there and get it. I sure hope they break it."
Coach Welsh said that kidney stones are not abnormal for him. He periodically suffers from them.
"I normally have kidney stones about this time of year," Coach Welsh said. "But it didn't feel like a kidney stone at the time."
These are not the only health problems that the 48-year coaching veteran has been through. In 2000, he was treated for lymphoma. But Thomson fans need not worry; he's not planning on retiring anytime soon.