Liberty announced Tuesday night that Hugh Freeze had been hospitalized to treat ongoing back spasms. Anyone who’s ever gone dealt with back spasms or known someone who has is fully aware how serious they can be, but it turns out Freeze was battling an opponent far more serious than that.
As he detailed to ESPN’s Chris Low, Freeze’s back spasms were merely a symptom of a herniated disc and a potentially life-threatening strand of staph infection.
Freeze powered through back pain throughout the day on Saturday, coaching Liberty through a scrimmage and then watching film afterward with players and his staff. The pain worsened throughout the day — by Saturday night he could barely get up the stairs, and by Sunday morning he was completely debilitated. An ambulance had to take him to the hospital.
Once Liberty president Jerry Falwell, Jr., became aware of Freeze’s condition, Falwell used his connections in Washington and throughout the country to transfer Freeze from a Lynchburg hospital to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, then flew in Dr. Dilan Ellegala from Arizona on Liberty’s plane, who performed spinal surgery on Freeze.
“The doctors told me if it had been another 24 hours, that strand of bacteria could have gotten to my heart and that I would have been fighting for my life,” Freeze told ESPN. “It’s the way God works because there’s no doubt that bacteria would have killed me if President Falwell wasn’t so quick to make sure we got the right people involved.”
Freeze remains away from the team, but has been in communication with his staff by phone. He will have to coach from a golf cart when he returns to practice and may coach Liberty’s Aug. 31 opener versus Syracuse from the press box, but Freeze remains in good spirits and thankful to be alive.
“I was miserable sitting here in this bed, but it reminded me how grateful I am to have this opportunity,” he said.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.