Urban Meyer’s Health: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Urban Meyer has battled health challenges throughout his coaching career, but the Ohio State head coach recently admitted to having a cyst on his brain. After falling to his knees during the Indiana-Ohio State game, Meyer opened up about some of the health challenges he is facing.

“I’ve been dealing with that cyst for many years, and we had the surgery several years ago,” Meyer told Yahoo Sports. “And when it does take place, it’s just, you know, they give me some medicine and I feel fine now. Just something I’ve got to monitor.”

Meyer has publicly affirmed his commitment to coach the Buckeyes next season, but questions continue to swirl about whether the Ohio State head coach will retire after the 2018 season.

Learn more about Meyer’s health issues.


1. Meyer Has a Cyst on His Brain

During an October 2018 press conference, Meyer noted he has a cyst on his brain. While this may be a surprise to most fans, Meyer was initially diagnosed with the cyst in 1998 per USA Today. Throughout his career, Meyer has been able to manage the challenges, but his demeanor on the sidelines during the 2018 season suggests things have worsened. According to Cleveland.com, Meyer had surgery in 2014 to help with the condition.

He has managed his health since the 2014 surgery, and these days that includes daily medication. The Buckeyes won the national title 10 months after his first surgery and are 56-7 in the five seasons since the surgery.

As with many medical conditions, the issue with his cyst is incurable and progressive. It has been managed by medication and that 2014 surgery, and Meyer may at some point have other treatment options to consider…

But he’s had a cyst in his head his whole life. If the 2014 surgery to remove fluid and reduce pressure in his brain followed most procedures for arachnoid cysts, he had two holes drilled in his head.


2. Dr. Andrew Thomas, Meyer’s Physician, Released a Statement Noting Meyer’s “Aggressive Headaches” Have Gotten Worse in the Last 2 Years

Meyer’s personal physician Dr. Andrew Thomas released his own statement (per ESPN) to shed some light on Meyer’s health challenges. Thomas noted that the severity of Meyer’s headaches has intensified over the last two years.

The past four years, we’ve been working closely with Coach Meyer to monitor and manage the symptoms that have risen from his enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst. This includes aggressive headaches, which have particularly flared up the past two years.


3. Ohio State’s Zach Smith Investigation Noted Meyer Had “Memory Issues” & Is on Medication That Can Negatively Impact His Memory

Meyer’s health has undoubtedly been tested since the Ohio State coach lied during Big Ten media days about what he knew regarding then assistant coach Zach Smith. This led to an Ohio State investigation of how Meyer and the athletic department handled Smith’s situation. The findings noted Meyer took medicine that had the potential to inhibit his memory per CBS Sports.

Investigators learned that Meyer “has sometimes had significant memory issues in other situations where he had prior extensive knowledge of events. He has also periodically taken medicine that can negatively impair his memory, concentration and focused.” They accepted that as a legitimate reason for him not remembering past events, such as the details of the 2015 incident.


4. Meyer’s 2009 Retirement at Florida Has Been Tied to Health Issues & He Admitted to Regularly Taking Sleeping Pills While Coaching the Gators

Meyer stepped away from football in 2009 after helping lead Florida on one of the greatest stretches in program history. According to The New York Times, Meyer suffered from severe chest pains just hours after the SEC title game between Florida and Alabama.

Hours after Florida lost to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 5, Gators Coach Urban Meyer awoke in the middle of the night with severe chest pains.

He had experienced similar pains the past two years, but this time was different. He lost consciousness, went to a hospital in an ambulance and had more than nine hours of testing.

That night was the tipping point for Meyer, 45, who stunned college football on Saturday by announcing that he was stepping down from coaching.

“There was no heart damage,” Meyer said. “But I didn’t want there to be a bad day where there were three kids sitting around wondering what to do next. It was the pattern of what I was doing and how I was doing it. It was self-destructive…I was worried about letting people down. I was feeling so awful and concerned about my health. That [his daughter’s positive reaction to his retirement] was among several other signs that said it’s time to back away.”

Meyer later admitted to regularly using sleeping pills such as Ambien just to get a few hours of sleep at night. Meyer detailed his dependency on pills during a 2016 Bleacher Report interview.

He weaned himself off the Ambien. That took a full six months. From two pills a night to one, then from one to a half of one, until, finally, he stopped needing them…The only help Urban took was Ambien for his sleep. One a night at first, and then two, washing them down with beer. “Every night,” Shelley says. “And it’s highly addictive. He couldn’t sleep without it.”

Even with it, he didn’t sleep much—maybe four hours a night—and it was a feverish, desperate sort of sleep, his mind incapable of stopping its search for problems to worry over and try to solve. He often woke up to find that, sometime in the night, he had filled dozens of pages with football plays and motivational speeches. He remembered writing none of it.


5. Despite His Public Commitment to Coach in 2019, There Are Serious Questions About Whether Meyer Will Retire After the 2018 Season & Ryan Day Is Expected to Take Over as Ohio State Coach When He Does

ryan day ohio state

GettyRyan Day is expected to be the next Ohio State head coach when Urban Meyer retires.

While failing to elaborate on his health status, Meyer has said repeatedly that he plans to coach Ohio State in 2019. However, Football Scoop reported that there are serious questions about whether Meyer will coach next season noting that 2019 is the latest he will retire, and Ryan Day is expected to take over as head coach when Meyer does call it quits.

While Urban has stated repeatedly publicly that he plans to coach next year, sources tell FootballScoop that the Ohio State head coach continues to contemplate his future on an ongoing basis, and we hear he has told Gene Smith that he doesn’t expect to continue to coach past the 2019 season. One source told us we should expect Urban to address this in the days following Saturday’s Big Ten Championship.

While Meyer has publicly reiterated his plans to coach next season, he has also laid out reasons why it would make sense to step away. Most notably, holding an informal press conference late last month detailing his ongoing bout with an arachnoid cyst in his brain that has led to “aggressive headaches.”

Source: Heavy Sports