Just after 6 a.m. on a Monday morning in April, Navarre High School offensive line coach Greg Greenhaw is lying on a hospital bed unsure if this is the day the scoreboard clock in the game of life hits zero.
In football terms, he is staring at fourth down and the dire need for a miracle. The aortic aneurysm that landed him in the hospital could kill him at any moment.
“I remember being rolled into the OR (operating room) the day of surgery and I knew if that thing ruptures while I’m on the table, I could bleed out,” Greenhaw said. “I just said ‘Lord, if there is any will for me to be done on this Earth, I’m ready to go. But if I’m still alive when I come out of this, I know you still have work for me here.’”
Greenhaw still has work to do. A year later, life is good again. He is back to teaching and coaching and sits outside talking about the emotional roller coaster that began April 25 of last year as he watches students in his gym class play tennis on a muggy May afternoon.
“It was a Saturday and I started having pain in between my shoulder blades, different than any other type of muscle soreness,” Greenhaw said. “I knew something was up. I came inside and told my wife (Stacey) I was going to lie down because I didn’t feel very well. As the night progressed, it got worse.”
He planned to take his son to a birthday party on Sunday, but by then, the pain had made its way into his chest. He told his wife he couldn’t go.
“I told her we start spring (football) practice tomorrow and I’m not really feeling well. I was going to rest, put my feet up and watch the race. I’m a big NASCAR fan,” Greenhaw said. “She got home about 2 p.m. that afternoon, looked at me, said my color was bad and that she was taking me to the hospital. Normally I’m stubborn. I didn’t argue with her.”
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