Denver Broncos coach John Fox will undergo aortic heart valve replacement this week, forcing him to take a leave of absence for several weeks, the National Football League team said today.
Doctors had told Fox months ago that his defective aortic value would require a procedure after the 2013 season, the team said. During his trip to North Carolina, he had a preoperative appointment on Oct. 31 with his doctor, who told him to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.
“Testing revealed the need to have this procedure as soon as possible,” the team said.
Fox has a 7-1 record this season with the Broncos, who are scheduled to pay at San Diego on Nov. 10.
“Although I am disappointed I must take some time away from the team to attend to this pre-existing health condition, I understand that it’s the right thing to do,” Fox said in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”
The club will announce its interim coach when a decision is finalized, the team said.
“Our focus at this time is coach Fox’s health and well-being,” the team said.
Earlier yesterday, Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said on Twitter that he had spoken with Fox and the coach “did not have a heart attack.” He said Fox was “in good spirits” and undergoing additional tests at the hospital.
“I am doing fine,” Fox said in a text shared on Twitter by Smyth.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.