HOUSTON – Texans head coach Gary Kubiak had stroke-like symptoms during Sunday's night game against the Colts, according to a source close to the team.
Kubiak will remain in the hospital for evaluation for at least the next 24 hours, the team said in a statement released Monday morning.
Kubiak knelt down on the field during Sunday night’s game against the Colts. The team said he experienced dizziness and a light-headed feeling as he left the sidelines at the start of the half.
The team’s sports medicine staff and doctors attended to him before he was taken to The Texas Medical Center by ambulance. The Texans said the coach’s family joined in at the hospital overnight.
“Our primary concern is of course with Gary’s health and well-being,” Texans Executive VP of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith said. “There have been so many people throughout the city and across the country that have reached out to express their love and support and we are thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers. Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits. He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored.”
Doctors said Kubiak, 52, went through “a battery of tests” at the hospital. The team said he would remain with medical personnel for at least the next 24 hours.
“On behalf of the Kubiak Family and the Houston Texans, we appreciate the concern of fans, media and the National Football League. We are asking fans and media to respect the privacy of the Kubiak Family. We will release further details as they are made available.”
After halftime Sunday night many fans of the Texans, now losers of six straight, were left to worry about their coach.
“There was a lot of unknown,” said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who coached the team after halftime. “Everything was unknown as to what was going on and what happened to Kube.”
“It’s on your mind when you’re out there playing,” receiver Andre Johnson said. “But you try to focus on the game and just go out and do your job.”
The Texans immediately ruled out a heart attack.
“He had an episode; he was light-headed and dizzy,” Houston general manager Rick Smith said in an interview on NBC. “He was evaluated by a number of specialists ... he is awake and coherent.
“We have to assess ... obviously, there’s a lot of info. Hopefully, Gary will be back with us tomorrow.”
Up 21-3 when Kubiak collapsed, the Texans struggled after halftime for their sixth straight loss after opening the season 2-0 with Super Bowl hopes.
Veteran safety Ed Reed didn’t want to blame the loss on what happened to Kubiak.
“I thought we dealt with it well,” Reed said. “We’ve just got to finish.”
Kubiak’s collapse came a day after Denver Broncos coach John Fox was hospitalized in North Carolina as he awaits aortic valve replacement surgery. The 58-year-old Fox will have surgery in a few days and will miss several weeks while recuperating.
Fox had been told earlier about his heart condition and was hoping to put off the operation until February. As part of his trip to North Carolina on a bye week, he met with his cardiologist in Raleigh and was told to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.
On Saturday, Fox became dizzy playing golf near his offseason home in Charlotte and was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed he couldn’t wait any longer to have the surgery.
In college, Minnesota coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence last month so he could better manage and treat his epilepsy. He has had five seizures on game day in his two-plus seasons with the Golden Gophers.
Kubiak has long been known as a top offensive coach, mentoring quarterbacks in Denver under Mike Shanahan and now Matt Schaub—and Case Keenum—in Houston. Kubiak has had no known public health problems.
Kubiak was hired in 2006, along with general manager Rick Smith, after the Texans finished a franchise-worst 2-14. Smith spent 10 years with Kubiak while the coach was offensive coordinator of the Broncos. Smith was Denver’s defensive assistant for four seasons before moving into the front office for his last six years with the Broncos.
The pair has helped transform the Texans, which began play in 2002, from league laughingstock to contender. The team went 6-10 in their first year and 8-8 in each of the next two seasons. Expectations were high in 2010 after Houston finished at 9-7 for its first winning record in 2009. But the Texans instead fell to 6-10, which led to many fans calling for Kubiak’s firing.
His original contract was due to expire after the 2010 season, but owner Bob McNair has stepped up to keep Kubiak and defended him several times amid the bumps. Among recent departures were assistant head coach Alex Gibbs (for Seattle) and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan went to join his father, Mike, in Washington.
Last year, the Texans announced contract extensions for both Smith and Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the playoffs last year for the first time. Kubiak’s three-year agreement has him under contract through 2014.
McNair said at the time he offered Kubiak a four-year deal, but the coach preferred to make it for three.
Kubiak made his mark as Denver’s offensive coordinator under Mike Shanahan, winning two Super Bowls. An eighth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elway’s backup. He finished his career 4-1 as a starter, all in emergency relief of Elway.
This is the second time a Houston head coach has collapsed during a game. It also happened to Astros manager Larry Dierker in 1999.