On Wednesday, November 14, 2001, David Jacobs, a junior defensive lineman from Atlanta, Georgia, was seen by medical staff in the UGA athletic training room following practice with neurological symptoms of dizziness and weakness. During the course of the evaluation, he developed a severe headache and his condition suddenly deteriorated. Immediate emergency care was provided by athletic trainers and physicians at the site. He was then transported by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital, where further evaluation and testing indicated that Jacobs had suffered a stroke.
Appropriate treatment was initiated and he was admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) where he was closely monitored overnight. On Thursday, November 15, Jacobs was airlifted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for further evaluation and treatment and to be closer to his family. He is currently in stable condition in the neuro ICU unit.
With a stroke, maximum neurological deficits may be present at the beginning, or symptoms may progress or fluctuate. Once there is no further deterioration, the stroke is considered a complete stroke. For this reason, medical personnel felt it was appropriate to wait through the first ninety-six hours after onset prior to releasing any official information regarding his condition in order to have an accurate evaluation of his status.
Jacobs' stroke affected primarily the right side of his body as well as his ability to communicate. When Jacobs is determined by the attending physicians to be medically stable, he will be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital where he will undergo intensive physical, occupational and speech therapies.
A fund has been established by the Georgia Athletic Association to assist Jacobs and his family to cover any needs which may not be addressed through the catastrophic insurance program. Donations may be made to the David Jacobs Account c/o First American Bank and Trust.
The Jacobs family requests that the media please respect their right to privacy at this time. Further information will be released by the family as appropriate at their wishes. The Jacobs family and the University of Georgia would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the many individuals who have assisted in his care to date, particularly the medical staffs at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Cards may be sent to David Jacobs at the following address: Emory Univ. Hospital; 1365 Clifton Road, NE; Atlanta, GA 30322
Comments from UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson
"I think it's exceedingly rare. He doesn't have any risk factors that you would typically associate with a stroke. You know that strokes can come from risk factors and strokes can also come from blood trauma to the neck. It is exceedingly rare for someone David's age to have a stroke.
"He can speak. We've been in daily contact with him. I visited with him today and a number of our coaches and players have seen him quite frequently. It has affected his speech but he is able to communicate. (on what is expected for Jacobs' rehabilitation) "Rehabilitation in a rehab hospital where he will have very structured rehab on his disabilities with speech and occupational therapy and physical therapy. Whenever he's medically stable and the doctors feel it is appropriate he'll transfer to a rehab hospital and then it's just a matter of seeing how he progresses. I think the biggest advantage he has thus far is he's 22 years old and he has a young, healthy brain and a young, healthy body where your typical stroke patient is typically much older. I think he has a much brighter prognosis because of the fact he is young and healthy.
"He is a tremendously hard worker and has a good work ethic. I think the other thing significant is he has a good support system. He has a good family and has a lot of friends and his team. He has a lot of people that love him and care for him and want to provide as many resources as they can."
Comments from UGA Head Coach Mark Richt
"I saw him the night he entered St. Mary's. I spent some time with him that evening. I got emotional seeing him down and scared, as you can imagine. I teared up a little bit so he told Ron 'not to let Coach back because he cries too much.' "I was feeling sorry for myself after the Auburn game. David had a real problem. I put a whole lot of perspective on my selfishness. It didn't make me feel better because I felt for David, but it sure helped me put my priorities back in line. "He's a heart and soul type player. A guy that played and practiced extremely hard every day. Perfect attitude. Enthusiasm is how you would describe David. Any positive word you can say about a player is David. That is what's going to help him on his road to recovery is his positive attitude."