Former Chief Tavon Rooks grateful after training camp heart attack


Offensive lineman Tavon Rooks didn’t make the Chiefs this summer, but he might not have made it without them.

According to Herbie Teope of the Topeka Capital-Journal, Rooks suffered a heart attack while in training camp, and if not for the quick attention of teammates and the training staff, might not have been around to talk about it today.

“If they didn’t catch that in time, the doctor was telling me I would’ve been dead on the field or in my dorm room that night,” Rooks said.

Yeah, that would have definitely been worse than not making a 53-man roster, but Rooks said that during practice on Aug. 17, he was trying to block out the pain and focus on his goal of staying in the NFL.

He started experiencing chest pains during two-minute drill work, but tried to push through. Then during one-on-ones, he grew short of breath, and a teammate waved over trainers to check on him.

“I knew something was wrong,” Rooks said, “but I was like I’m going to fight through it because you’re trying to make the roster. Pain is not the first thing on your mind right now. . . .

“After one-on-ones, that’s when I felt I needed help because I didn’t feel right. It was to the point where I couldn’t focus on what I needed to do and accomplish on the field because there was discomfort in my chest.”

That discomfort was a blood clot in an artery near his heart, and he had an emergency procedure to insert a stent. During the five-day hospital stay, a number of Chiefs staffers including General Manager John Dorsey visited him, which made an impact. They’ve done more than that since then. The Chiefs waived him with a non-football designation, but have agreed to take care of his hospital bills.

“I think it’s above and beyond from what you typically see in professional sports, in the NFL,” agent Richard Kopelman said. “But I don’t think it’s uncharacteristic of the Chiefs for folks like John Dorsey and others in that organization. I think it’s great.”

But for Rooks, the better news was simply being able to hold his 1-year-old daughter Londyn, which supersedes his dream of playing in the NFL.

“I’m happy to wake up every day, see her beautiful smile, her laugh and giggle,” Rooks said. “I’m excited to wake up in the middle of the night just to hold her, sleep with her, because I love my daughter so much. I’m happy the Lord gave me a second chance at life.”

And that’s a chance he might not have had without the prompt care the Chiefs gave him.

17 responses to “Former Chief Tavon Rooks grateful after training camp heart attack

  1. Thats very classy to pay the entire medical bill even though it sounds like he wouldn’t have made the team if healthy. Stay classy, Kansas City.

    I think this is the team that will win the AFC West as long as Jamal Charles keeps being a beast.

  2. That’s why I’m a Chief for life, we go above and beyond the call of duty when it’s warranted. A huge debt of appreciation should be given to the University of Kansas hospital Arrowhead branch, for their treatment of Tavon. World class all the way around.

  3. Glad to hear the Chiefs stepped up and paid for his medical bills.

    But it’s also sad in a way that these players have nothing unless they make and stay on a team’s roster.

  4. Too often the medical staff of NFL teams is overlooked. The job has its perils–a few years ago a doctor for the Chiefs suffered a compound leg fracture when a player collided with him.

    Good show by them for the immediate and long term assistance rendered to Tavon Rooks.

  5. Good to see a positive story about a NFL team, even if it came from a scary situation. Glad the kid is okay. That’s way too young to think you might be gone.

  6. Not sure why the team paying the bill is being touted as something special here.

    He was at work when this occurred. It can reasonably be attributed to the effort he was making at the time to stay employed. Workers comp should have covered everything no matter what.

  7. Good for KC. I hope Rooks has carer options. Too bad some doosh has to turn this into a rant about the Patriots.

  8. Actually, workers comp won’t cover that. That is not considered a workplace injury. Just because it happened when he was “working”, they will argue that it cannot be proven that previous heart problems weren’t the cause. Workers comp, and the government in general, does not hand out money without a fight.

  9. I’m glad to hear he’s doing well, and I hate to cast dispersions but unless this guy has familial high cholesterol, the only reason he’s having significant cardiovascular disease under the age of 30 is probably steroid use.

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