Urban Meyer's Health Shouldn't Be Spring Distraction for Ohio State

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterMarch 4, 2014

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The last time Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had a health issue, it eventually resulted, at least in part, in his resignation at Florida. 

Barring a stunning turn of events, don't expect the same this time around with the Buckeyes. 

Ohio State announced on Monday that Meyer underwent a minor medical procedure over the weekend to remove fluid from a brain cyst. The cyst was first discovered in 1998, but a recent string of headaches apparently led Meyer to undergo surgery. 

The procedure and subsequent recovery time didn't sound like a major undertaking. Meyer plans to be on the field Tuesday when the Buckeyes begin spring practice. 

J Pat Carter/Associated Press

Along with questions about quarterback Braxton Miller's shoulder surgery and Big Ten title hopes, Meyer will be asked about the procedure and his health. 

They're fair questions, too. Meyer has a recent history of health issues and it's no secret he pushes himself as hard as anyone in the business. That's what it takes to be successful at the highest level of college football. It also comes with tremendous sacrifice. 

Meyer first stepped down as Florida's head coach in December of 2009. He told Pete Thamel, then of The New York Times, that a hospital scare shortly after the SEC Championship loss to Alabama played a significant role in the decision. Depending on who was asked and when, those health problems stemmed from either a heart condition or esophageal spasms

However, Meyer returned to Florida in 2010 after a brief leave of absence. Yet, that same season, Meyer stepped down again as the Gators' head coach—this time for good—claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family. 

It was a drama-filled year with its own set of conspiracy theories. In 2012, Matt Hayes of the Sporting News wrote a scathing report alleging that Meyer got out of Dodge before the program took a turn for the worst. 

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Meyer's latest health concern shouldn't come close to that sort of circus—not unless it becomes a recurring issue. According to a 2010 report from Steve Dorfman of The Palm Beach Post, however, Meyer's cyst isn't life-threatening. 

Nor is it caused by stress. 

"Stress may exacerbate the symptoms — that is, if you have a headache for any reason, stress can intensify the pain," neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Brodner told the Post "But stress won't cause an arachnoid cyst to grow bigger and put additional pressure on the brain."

This isn't a matter of midnight chest pains resulting in a loss of consciousness like it reportedly was in '09. Meyer will be asked about the cyst, he'll answer and the story will likely be over. 

If anything, Meyer would much rather talk about where Ohio State, the reigning Big Ten Leaders Division champs, needs to improve. After winning 24 straight games, the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten title and Clemson in the Orange Bowl. 

How does the program bounce back? Who will start in Ohio State's new-look offensive line? Can the defense get back to the dominating days of 2010 when it led the conference in points allowed?

These are just some of the questions Ohio State will face this spring. 

So long as Meyer's health doesn't become an ongoing issue, those will be the only questions the Buckeyes face. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval