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Oklahoma State football: Aneurysm could have killed defensive coordinator Bill Young

The Cowboys' defensive coordinator discusses why he missed games vs. Savannah State and Arizona.
by John Helsley Published: October 11, 2012

Bill Young prepared for his fourth season at Oklahoma State and his 44th year of coaching.

Feeling good.

For sure feeling no hint of the aneurysm the size of a thumbnail bubbled right between his eyes.

“The doctor said I was a walking time bomb,” Young said.

A nearly undetected time bomb.

So the Cowboys defensive coordinator sends a message to anyone delaying a visit to the doctor, or for anyone questioning a doctor's advice.


For the first time, Young is addressing the medical issue that caused him to miss OSU's games against Savannah State and Arizona, speaking out in hopes of helping others.

“If your doctor recommends something, he's a lot smarter than you are,” said Young, who missed two games earlier this season following a medical procedure, but is back coaching, this week working on a game plan for Kansas.

“And I almost didn't listen. And I'm sure I'd have lived to regret it.”

Or not lived.

When cerebral aneurysms rupture, it typically causes stroke, disability and even death, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Young, 66, initially tried to ignore family history and his own health history, before finally giving in to the wishes of his doctor and wife. Young went in for a routine MRI designed to rule out any existence of the kind of aneurysms that killed his father and once struck Young 30 years earlier.

Except the MRI revealed obvious danger, detecting a rather large bubble between Young's eyes.

He'd suffered no symptoms, which is common with cerebral aneurysms.

“It's a silent killer if there ever was one,” Young said.

This, Young knew all too well. As a boy growing up in Clovis, N.M., his father, William, was stricken with an aneurysm at the age of 31.

“Boom, just like that he was dead,” Young said.

Speaking to an uncle recently, Young discovered his father's aneurysm was in the exact same location as his father's.

“I'm just real lucky,” Young said.

Twice lucky.

While on the coaching staff at Tulsa in 1982, Young was in the weight room working out when he found himself being awakened on the floor.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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