May 23, 2018
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Lewiston football coach has medical emergency, not expected to miss time

By Kalle Oakes, Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — Lewiston High School football coach Bill County was expected to return to the team Wednesday after a medical scare earlier this week.

County, 54, experienced a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, on Monday morning, according to Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller.

Often referred to as a “mini stroke,” a TIA is an episode that may cause stroke-like symptoms for several hours without debilitating long-term effects.

“It was very small (with) zero effects,” Fuller said. “His speech is fine. There is no palsy in his face or anything like that.”

Fuller said he has been “overrun” with calls of concern for the Blue Devils’ longtime coach since word reached the community.

The attack that afflicted County often presents itself with many of the same symptoms as a stroke, including blurred vision, slurred speech and numbness in the face or extremities.

Unlike a stroke, however, those symptoms subside, often in a matter of minutes.

“They did all the tests and he passed all the tests,” Fuller said. “It’s a warning sign that some things need to change a little bit.”

On the field, County is in the middle of the toughest season in his 13 years at Lewiston.

The young Blue Devils fell 24-6 at Oxford Hills on Saturday, dropping to 1-4 in the Pine Tree Conference. They have lost four straight games since a win at Mount Ararat to open the season.

County’s record at Lewiston is 68-48, a win total that trails only legendary Norm Parent (99) and current Bates College assistant coach Skip Capone (71).

He led the Devils to the PTC championship game in both 2002 and 2010, losing to Edward Little of Auburn and Bangor, respectively.

Prior to Lewiston, County enjoyed a sensational eight-year run at Leavitt of Turner Center, winning Class B championships in 1995 and 1998.

An Auburn native, County graduated from Edward Little, Bridgton Academy and the University of Maine.

County underwent a gastric bypass in the mid-1990s. He told the Sun Journal at the time that he had dropped more than 150 pounds as a result of the procedure. He has maintained a majority of that weight loss to this day.

In addition to his coaching duties, the father of six is a full-time health teacher at the high school.

“The bottom line is that it was nothing major. He’s going to have to take a look at some of the stress levels. I’m sure Bill will take care of that,” Fuller said.

Lewiston will host reigning Eastern Class A champion Lawrence on Friday night at Don Roux Field.

“I fully expect to see him on the sidelines,” Fuller said.

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