Hugh Freeze is recovering after he underwent surgery from a possibly fatal strand of staph infection, ESPN.come reported.
The new Liberty coach had surgery Friday in Virginia after the infection entered his blood stream. Freeze said if he had waited to go to the hospital, he could have died, but Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. made the arrangements to make sure he got the best care.
"The doctors told me if it had been another 24 hours, that strand of bacteria could have gotten to my heart and that I would have been fighting for my life," Freeze told ESPN. "It's the way God works because there's no doubt that bacteria would have killed me if President Falwell wasn't so quick to make sure we got the right people involved."
He said last Saturday the pain became excruciating after Liberty's first scrimmage and by the next day he was practically immobile.
"I pushed through the day and watched film with the staff and players and walked through that night, and it was getting tighter and tighter," Freeze said. "By the time I got home, I could barely get up the stairs. And by mid-morning the next day, I couldn't walk or do anything, and we had to call the ambulance to come get me."
Freeze said he first contacted Falwell over severe back spasms, which turned out to be a herniated disc. Falwell then talked to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who helped get Freeze into the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Freeze revealed after undergoing tests from top spinal surgeons, the discovered there was much more going on than a herniated disc.
"Right away, after they all consulted, they told me I had a lot more going on than just a disk when they saw how much pain I was in. I was crippled, I couldn't stand up," Freeze said. "I'm blessed that I had so many brilliant medical minds coming together to help. I didn't even know at the time how much trouble I was in."
Freeze lauded the staff at Liberty and said the outpouring of support has been tremendous, even though he has had to miss much of fall camp.
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"It all happened so fast. I was all excited for camp, and then all of a sudden, here I am in the hospital," Freeze said. "The Liberty people have been incredible, and my staff has been incredible. I don't think God wastes anything. I was miserable sitting here in this bed, but it reminded me how grateful I am to have this opportunity."
Freeze's opportunity at Liberty comes after he was forced to resign from Ole Miss in 2017 due to him making calls from his work phone to a number associated with an escort service. On top of that, Ole Miss was hit with a two-year postseason ban due to NCAA infractions that occurred partly under Freeze's tenure.