Eleven years ago today, Herb Hand thought he was going to die. He didn’t, obviously, but the situation was close enough to where Hand had to literally ask the question.
11 yrs ago today I asked an E/R doctor in Orlando if I was going to die…"We're going to do everything we can for you."#Grateful4Everyday
— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) April 24, 2017
A surprise brain hemorrhage would have claimed Hand’s life if not for the handiwork of neurosurgeon Dr. Max Medary. Hand’s brain was healed and each side went their separate ways; Hand went back to coaching and Medary to… neurosurgeon-ing.
Hand eventually worked his way to Penn State and now Auburn, while Medary’s son, an elementary school student at the time, grew into a football recruit. That’s where their story converges again.
As James Crepea of AL.com details, Hand recruited Alex Medary to Auburn as a preferred walk-on H-back.
“He’s a good enough player to say, ‘Hey we’d love to have you be a part of our program we want you to be an Auburn Tiger,'” Hand told the site. “This is what I told him throughout the whole process and his parents, is that, is part of the equation that his dad was a big part of a very critical time in my life? Yeah, that’s part of the equation. But ultimately, he’s good enough player to be here, because if he wasn’t a good enough player to come in and hold his own then we wouldn’t have offered him the opportunity.
“Is it special for me to be able to do that? Absolutely. Or us to be able to do that I should say because coach (Gus) Malzahn’s on board with it and everybody here is. They all kind of know the tie-in with him and his dad. So, is that special? Yeah, it’s great. I’m eternally grateful to his father and will be. He’s a great dude.”