Jerry Kill reportedly seeks epilepsy treatment in Grand Rapids

6:37 PM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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  • University of Minnesota head football coach, Jerry Kill.
  • Brain scan of an epileptic seeking treatment at Spectrum Health Epilepsy Center.
  • Spectrum Health Chief of Neurology Dr. Brien Smith talks about new technology to help epileptics.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Michigan football fans probably became more aware of epilepsy after the Minnesota coach missed a recent game due to the disorder.

Now, one media outlet reports Coach Jerry Kill took medical leave to seek treatment in Grand Rapids. The University of Minnesota will not confirm the report, but a Minneapolis Star Tribune sports writer WZZM 13 he is confident through his source that Kill was in Grand Rapids.

If there's one man who's become the face of a chronic brain disorder, it's Minnesota Football Coach Jerry Kill. He's suffered five game day seizures since taking the position at Minnesota including one on the day of the University of Michigan game.

Kill's advocacy for the life-threatening, memory-robbing disorder has also inspired thousands. Now he's seeking the best treatment not at the Mayo Clinic or a Minneapolis Hospital, but at a "renowned epilepsy clinic in Grand Rapids," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

HIPPA prevents us knowing if it's Saint Mary's Hauenstein Neuroscience Center or Spectrum Health's Epilepsy Center. Both are Level 4, the highest ranking centers.

Dr. Brien Smith, Spectrum Health's Chief of Neurology, and board chair for the national Epilepsy Foundation says the clinic is attracting patients from outside West Michigan. "We've had patients from California, Florida. We've had experience with all the complex cases and all the new technologies coming out and are available."

His team's work outside the clinic has also garnered national attention.

Spectrum performs brain surgery on certain epileptics, but even with other methods, for some, the disorder is incurable. The hope is with the best care, there's the best possibility of living life seizure free.

The Spectrum Epilepsy Center is working to add a residency program. It will start next July if approved.

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