Maryland High School Coach Suffers Heart Attack During Halftime, Continues Coaching

College footballs sit on ground

St. John's Catholic Prep (Md.) football coach Daryl Hayes suffered a heart attack during halftime of his team's game last Saturday, but he continued coaching until the final whistle.

According to The Frederick News-Post, Hayes's wife, Kelly, said he texted her at halftime asking if she had any mints because he thought he had indigestion. His symptoms worsened during the second half, including chest pains and numbness in his left arm and part of his leg. 

Despite the pain, Hayes didn't want to leave the sidelines for what could be his team's final game. The Vikings' schedule may be shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"He's a tough guy, and he loves this game. For a lot of these kids, this may be their last football game of the season," Kelly Hayes said. "It's been such a horrible year anyway, I think he just was determined to finish the game he loved. I'm just glad he survived it."

After the Vikings' 53–0 loss to Concordia Prep, Hayes was treated at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. His heart attack was caused by a blood clot in one of his arteries. Doctors cleared the blockage and put in a stent, and Hayes was released from the hospital on Monday.

He previously underwent bypass surgery in January 2018. Doctors said Hayes's heart muscle is strong and they don't expect there to be any permanent damage from his heart attack.

"He is lucky to be alive," Kelly Hayes said. "We really dodged a bullet. It was too close of a call for my comfort, but he made it through. That's a relief."