Posted by jstevrtc on August 5th, 2010
We first heard about this a week ago (via Curtis Kitchen from 810WHB.com) and saw another mention of it late last night, so we most definitely had to take a minute to send some positive thoughts in the direction of former Missouri State, Saint Louis, and UNLV head coach and 1994 Henry Iba Award winner Charlie Spoonhour. Coach Spoonhour, 71, was recently diagnosed with a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and is currently awaiting a lung transplant at Duke University Medical Center in Durham.
Talk about a heck of an assist, though. According to this report from St. Louis Today (the online manifestation of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), a pair of fellow members of the coaching fraternity did a great service to Coach Spoonhour. The Spoon is an old friend of West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, who called Mike Krzyzewski to help Spoonhour gain admission to DUMC.
As you’ve probably already figured out, there’s no cure for IPF, so the only way to get rid of it is to get some new lungs, or at least one new lung. As if that weren’t frustrating enough, there’s no specific known cause for the disease (hence “idiopathic”), not even cigarette smoking or chemical exposures, except that it’s almost always seen in people over 50. In persons with IPF, the lower and side parts of the lungs get gummed up with stuff called collagen, which is actually one of the most prevalent, normally-occurring substances in the body (and yep, it’s similar to the stuff they inject in people’s lips). Patients start out feeling like they have pneumonia and get short of breath when they exert themselves because their lungs have trouble filling — but then, unlike pneumonia, it doesn’t go away, and the lung doctor eventually finds the disease on deeper investigation.
Anyway, enough pulmonology. We say bravo to Huggins and Krzyzewski, but most of all we just want a suitable transplant match to be found and for Spoonhour to get through this as well as he can. Get better, Coach, because we miss seeing and hearing you on the sidelines and the broadcast booth. We’re all pulling for you!