On the day he returned to work after open-heart surgery, Broncos coach John Fox joked that his current job wasn’t so difficult as to make him unsafe.
Fox had a procedure to replace his aortic valve on Nov. 4, a condition which he tried to delay until after the season before he felt dizzy and light-headed during his bye week trip to his offseason home in Charlotte.
“I feel tremendous,” Fox said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “As my surgeon said, I had a valve that was about as big as a pinhead, and now it’s about the size of a 50-cent piece. I feel tremendous, obviously the doctors feel good about me getting back to work. I actually would have preferred to have been back sooner, but there was a pretty hard deadline after the surgery of four weeks, and I honored that.
“I feel as healthy as I’ve ever felt in the last 20 years. I’m going to be smart. If all of a sudden I can’t hold my eyes open, I’m going to go home. But, like I said, the last three weeks I’ve been operating pretty much as I did the first eight weeks of the season. It’s not like I’m moving furniture or doing roofs. I mean, I sit somewhere and watch football.”
Fox kept close tabs on his team via technology during his absence, watching practice tapes and talking to players and coaches throughout.
“Really the hardest part was watching the team play,” Fox said. “I talked to a lot of people, actually I talked to [Colts coach] Chuck Pagano and his wife and they said even when he was going through it, battling his disease, that was the hardest part, and I could concur.”
Fox insisted the problem wasn’t stress-related or tied to the demands of coaching, though many connected those dots in the wake of his incident and the stroke-like attack suffered by Texans coach Gary Kubiak.
The hope is that he’s right, and those in a high-demand profession make sure to take care of themselves, even if it’s not exactly lifting heavy boxes.