ATLANTA — Georgia Tech safety Cooper Taylor talked publicly Wednesday for the first time since sliding into Georgia Tech’s injury report with an undisclosed injury nearly three weeks ago.
The sophomore said he had been diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare heart-rhythm disorder.
“It’s something that happened (before),” Taylor said. “(But) I thought it was from just being out of shape.”
Taylor said he knew something was seriously wrong with him during the first quarter of Georgia Tech’s Sept. 17 game against Miami when his heart began to race.
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“I got dizzy and blacked out, so I walked off the field, told the doctors, and they got it all right,” Taylor said. “It’s something that gets progressively worse the more it happens. But Miami, it happened hard enough or bad enough to where they said they had to get it fixed or I couldn’t play.”
The Friday after the Yellow Jackets’ Thursday night trip to south Florida, Taylor met with doctors at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital who diagnosed him right away with the disorder. The following week, he had surgery — which involves running a catheter from the groin to the heart — to correct the problem.
A starting defensive back figured to factor heavily into the Yellow Jackets’ defensive rotation this preseason, Taylor said he feels much better now and is trying to get back in the mix before the end of the season. Listed as out on Georgia Tech’s latest injury report, it could be several weeks before he is healthy enough to make a full return.
“It’s tough. It’s my first time not traveling and playing every game,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of a weird feeling not being there.”
While not specific to athletes, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome has been a problem recently for Georgia Tech players.
In 2007, brothers Logan and Levi Walls — Levi graduated last year, Logan is a current defensive tackle — were diagnosed with the disease, as well. Logan’s was a much milder condition than Taylor and Levi’s, but he was still able to provide Taylor with some perspective.
“I talked to Logan before and after (the procedure),” Taylor said.
NOLES FOCUS RETURNS
Earlier this week, Florida State trustee chair Jim Smith created quite a stir in Tallahassee, Fla., with his comments that “enough is enough” with head coach Bobby Bowden and the Seminoles’ current losing ways.
With Florida State’s unexpectedly 2-3 record to start the season, Smith and others around the university believe that as Bowden has aged, the longtime powerhouse’s years of success have come to an end. For that reason, they want Bowden gone immediately.
But the time to even discuss such action is not now, school president T.K. Wetherell said Wednesday in a prepared statement. The time to discuss that possibility will be in January at the earliest.
“I have spoken with numerous fans, alumni, boosters, supporters and staff, and I will make a final report to the full board of trustees at the end of the year,” Wetherell’s statement read in part. “Until then, FSU will concentrate on supporting our team and student-athletes in winning as many games as possible. Neither the university nor I will have further comment on this matter until then.”
With those words, it seems, the focus at Florida State is back on football and no longer centered upon the 80-year-old head coach, who has led Florida State to 27 straight bowl appearances.
Speaking on the weekly ACC coaches’ teleconference, Bowden said he was glad to hear Wetherell’s calming statement.
“I appreciate his support,” Bowden said. “I’m very thankful.”
Bowden’s own thoughts now turn to a Georgia Tech team (4-1, 2-1 ACC) that has won its past two ballgames. It is much the same Yellow Jackets team that also beat the Seminoles last year in Atlanta.
“No, (the controversy) don’t bother me,” Bowden said. “The only thing I’d be concerned about is, ‘Is it distracting for my team?’ And I don’t think it is. I don’t get that from talking to the (players).”
What is the easiest way to put this week’s occurrences behind him?
“There ain’t but one answer,” Bowden said, “winning.”
TECH COMMUNITY SERVICE
While the Georgia Tech football team travels down Interstate 75 on Saturday, another 60 or so student-athletes from the Institute will be volunteering that morning at an Atlanta-area home for low-income men, women and children who are affected by HIV/AIDs.
The Jerusalem House, a federally funded organization located near Emory University’s campus, will receive outdoor and indoor maintenance help from the Georgia Tech athletes.
Prior to the cleanup, Institute president G.P. “Bud” Peterson will speak to the students.
ON THIS DAY
In 1916, the Yellow Jackets completed the most lopsided victory in college football history. Georgia Tech blanked Cumberland 222-0 in a game in Atlanta that saw 32 touchdowns and amazingly, no first downs. The Yellow Jackets scored within four downs on every possession.
The win, marked by an average 3.8 points per minute and 978 yards rushing, came after Cumberland’s baseball team beat Georgia Tech 22-0 the previous spring.