A warning from the football guru

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Some of my earliest memories deal with warnings.

We've all received plenty of them. Some that immediately come to my mind include:
"Look both ways before crossing the street."

"Don't play with matches."

"If you cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way."

The list goes on and on. As we get older, we continue to be warned. Most of the time, we pay attention to these words of wisdom. After all, they're meant to help us.

Last month, I received a warning that saved my life. I suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack, better known as a T.I.A. Simply stated, a T.I.A. is a warning sign that a person is at risk for having a stroke.

The event took place in West Tennessee. My wife Hope and I were in Jackson for a couple of days and I had just finished interviewing a dozen high school football coaches on the area's ESPN affiliate. The interviews lasted a couple of hours and could not have gone better.

But five minutes after the broadcast, I could not speak. Those of you who know me can understand the fear that raced through my brain. When you make a large part of your income talking on radio and television like I do and can't make people understand what you're saying, it's time to panic.

My symptoms lasted less than 10 minutes but I knew exactly what was happening. Fortunately, we were just a couple of minutes from Jackson - Madison County General, one of only a few hospitals in Tennessee certified as a Primary Stroke Center. I absolutely could not have been in a better place.

Less than 10 minutes after arriving at the hospital's ER, six medical people surrounded me, asking detailed questions about my condition. Just 10 minutes later, I received a CT scan and was being prepped for both an MRI and an MRA.

The results of the three procedures were negative. Neurologist Dr. Chris Mitchell told me I needed to lose weight, start an exercise program and lower my cholesterol.

The warning came through loud and clear. Since the incident in Jackson, I have lost more than 10 pounds and am walking at least two miles every morning. Soft drinks and the sugar they contain are now things of the past. I'm changing my life style, one day at a time.

If there's a bright side to all of this, it deals with the six different doctors who saw me during my short stay in the hospital. Four of those six doctors knew who I was and, once my condition was reviewed, wanted to talk about high school football.  Seems like everyone wants to talk to "the guru" about the upcoming season.

Murphy Fair has published Tennessee High School Football for more than 25 years.

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