"I was reporting for camp when I heard the news. I asked someone, 'Where is coach Petri?' That's when I was told he had a heart attack. I was just shocked. I am happy he's back out here. We are trying to keep him calm. He's been a little hyper out here.
"I finally had to say, 'Coach, you had a heart attack. Calm down.' But he is
back to being the same old coach Petri and we're just happy he's back out here."
Petri woke up with chest pains last Thursday, one day before UK's players were
to report for training camp. He had total blockage of one artery and required
immediate surgery. Yet there he was Tuesday overseeing his defensive linemen
like nothing had ever happened.
"They put in a stint to fix it and told me I could slowly start coming back,"
Petri said after Tuesday's practice. "I got unbelievable care. I was very
fortunate if I was going to have something like this, to have it here. I got
great care at the UK hospital cardiac care unit from the doctors and nurses."
While he might have medical clearance to return to work, he still has someone
monitoring his every move on the practice field. His wife, Marsha, who is
still living in Mississippi so one of their sons can finish his high school
senior season without moving, is in Lexington and watched every step he took
at practice in the hot, humid weather.
"She is here to watch and make sure I don't mess up or overdo things," Petri
said. "Sometimes I lose more control than I should, but then I look over and
see somebody (Marsha) watching me so I figure I am doing too much and better
slow down a little bit."
Petri is not ready for the 18-hour days he normally would put in at this time
of year. UK players roll out of bed at 6:45 a.m. and meetings usually last
until 10 p.m. or later.
"I can't do that yet. After practice I get cleaned up and have to go rest,"
Petri said. "I try to make it through practice and most of the meetings with
the players so I can spend as much time with them as possible. But I'm not
quite back to full speed."
Since Petri spent an hour on WLAP radio with me one week before he had his
heart attack, I had to ask if he thought that was a factor.
"You put me under so much pressure, it put me down," he laughed and said.
"We've got the bad behind us, now the good is ahead. I'm just lucky it was no
worse than it was."
VAUGHT: UK assistant suffers heart attack
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