As he was walking off the field at the half of Houston's game against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed and was taken to a Houston-area hospital. Kubiak was given a battery of tests, and according to multiple reports coming out on Monday evening, the coach suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), often referred to as a "mini-stroke."
TIAs are caused by blood clots just as stokes are; the difference is that in these cases, the clots clear more quickly. According to the American Stroke Association, most TIAs last about one minute, and generally don't last longer than five minutes. TIAs don't generally cause permanent brain damage or loss of motor function, but they are serious warning signs and lead to a higher probability of strokes in the future. About a third of those who have TIAs suffer strokes within a year.
“TIA is a warning stroke and gives a patient time to act and keep a permanent stroke from occurring,” Dr. Emil Matarese of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa. told the ASA's website. “By recognizing TIA symptoms and getting to the hospital, the patient can get help in identifying why the TIA occurred and get treatment — either through medication or surgery — that can prevent a stroke from occurring.”
Fortunately, Kubiak received immediate attention from the stadium's medical staff and was transported to the hospital quickly. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday morning that Kubiak had been given Tissue Plasminogen Activator, which breaks down blood clots in people who suffer strokes.
There is no clear timeline for Kubiak's return, nor has the team announced any plans for an interim head coach. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who has been the head coach for the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys in his career, took Kubiak's place in the second half of the loss to the Colts. The Texans are scheduled to travel to face the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 10.
“There was a lot of unknown," Phillips said after the game. "Everything was unknown as to what was going on and what happened to Kub. [Texans offensive coordinator] Rick Dennison obviously called the plays from the press box. We had to adjust as far as the head coach not being there. But, it was a shock to everybody.”
“Our primary concern is of course with Gary’s health and well-being,” Executive VP of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith said in a statement on Monday. “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.” The 52-year-old Kubiak has been the Texans’ head coach since the 2006 season. Before that, he was the Denver Broncos’ longtime offensive coordinator, and a backup quarterback for the Broncos from 1983 through ’91.