College football is serious business around the country and, for as much scrutiny (and hilarity) has come to the SEC on the heels of the conference’s “It Just Means More” slogan, the SEC takes its football as seriously as any league in the nation. To that end, coaches and players put a lot on the line each week but, on Sept. 23, Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand reportedly risked quite a bit.
Brandon Marcello of 247’s Auburn Undercover brings word that hand had an emergency medical situation on Sept. 22, just hours before Auburn was scheduled to travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers. In short, Hand had a detached and torn retina in his eye and, given that this wasn’t the first time Hand suffered such an ailment, it quickly became clear that he needed emergency surgery immediately.
However, Hand wanted no part of being absent from the trip to Missouri and he elected to wait to have the surgery until after the game took place. Fortunately, Hand’s gamble paid off in that his health was not adversely affected by waiting, even in the midst of a grueling travel schedule and a lopsided victory.
After the fact, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said the following about Hand’s choice:
“I gave him the opportunity if he needed to stay home, he needed to. I was very concerned. He wanted to go and be a part (of the game).”
“Last week he took it a little easier than he had in the past. He still did a good job preparing. This week you can tell he has his energy back and all that. It says a lot about Herb that he wanted to be there at the game and he did a good job that night, too. Herb’s a tough guy.”
This is, quite frankly, a crazy story but, fortunately, Hand did not cause further damage. Clearly, he wasn’t about to miss a football game.