John Fox talks about heart surgery, wants to return this season

John Fox

Denver Broncos coach John Fox explained what happened over the team’s bye week on a Charlotte golf course that led to him going to the hospital.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever passed out before, but you feel it overcoming you and basically you get tunnel vision and are just trying to fight it off,” Fox said Tuesday, via Gary Caldwell of

Fox chipped onto the green and putted the ball in before he had to lay down.

“(I) really just had to sit on the ground and actually lay on the ground,” Fox said. “I never really passed out, but just fighting that feeling of passing out. I just hit two golf shots in the middle of it.”

Fox said his doctors discovered a heart murmur in 1997, the cause of which was his bicuspid aortic valve.

“It was progressively getting worse a year ago,” Fox said. “They thought it would last another year. Obviously I didn’t make it quite to that point. Then it’s not something you fool with. You don’t remember much after that incident (on the golf course), so it’s not something you want to mess with.”

Doctors ran a CT scan that Saturday morning and noted that the valve was almost completely closed.

“I was receiving very little blood to my body,” Fox explained. “It’s one of those things that it could just happen quickly.”

Fox had aortic heart valve replacement surgery the following Monday.

“With heart surgery, they basically hit you with a truck pretty fast. So you have to heal,” he said. “They open up the chest cavity, they perform surgery on your heart, (then) they put you all back together. They have to monitor things. The scariest part was the four days I was in the hospital.”

Fox said he was released from the hospital last Friday and was able to watch the Broncos win over the San Diego Chargers on television Sunday.

Fox hopes to be on the sideline coaching his players before the start of the playoffs.

“My goal and dream is to be there, obviously, before the conclusion of this season,” he said.

Fox also wanted to thank everyone for their support throughout the process.

“I want to thank all of you guys for all your good wishes and good thoughts and all the fans out there (and) obviously the Broncos organization, to allow me this time to get my health back,” he said.

“And that process is going very well.”

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