Former Lipscomb men’s basketball coach Don Meyer remains in a Minneapolis hospital after undergoing heart surgery.
On Thursday, Meyer, 67, was moved from the intensive care unit to the cardiac unit as doctors pulled two chest tubes and drained fluid, Meyer’s son, Jerry, wrote on his Twitter account. On Tuesday, he had three valves replaced and a hole in his heart repaired after six hours of surgery.
“Obviously serious surgery but he made it OK, and he is actually improving,” Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutcheson said. “I would anticipate he’ll be in recovery for several days in the hospital. I think he is trying to get his strength back at this point.”
Hutcheson has been receiving texts from Meyer’s daughter, Brooke, and said the procedure wasn’t an emergency. But he described the surgery as an attempt to alleviate recent fatigue. In 2008, Meyer was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Doctors made the discovery while amputating his left leg below the knee after a near fatal car accident.
The damage to his heart, Jerry Meyer wrote on Twitter, was caused by the cancer.
“Part of the challenge when you have cancer, sometimes when you’re trying to deal with one issue then it has effects on another issue,” Hutcheson said. “It’s hard to sometimes find treatments for everything that doesn’t have a negative effect on some other issue.”
Minneapolis is the largest metroplitan area near Aberdeen, S.D., where Meyer has lived since leaving Lipscomb in 1999 after 24 years. He coached at Division II Northern State for 11 seasons before retiring in 2010. He continues to work at Northern State as an ambassador and makes speaking engagements across the country.
Hutcheson, who was a four-time All-American at Lipscomb from 1986-90, saw Meyer just three weeks ago at Brooke Meyer’s home in Nashville. Hutcheson said his former coach was “totally engaged in the conversation” but look tired.
“But that’s what is always difficult with him because he still does as much activity or travel as some people who are perfectly healthy do,” Hutcheson said. “It’s hard to know sometimes if his fatigue might just be the same as anybody who had been on the past seven or eight days in a row. But he did look fatigued and tired. That was to be expected given the type of surgery he needed.”