A ‘grateful’ Freeze opens up about emergency surgery, then makes surprise appearance

Virginia Sports
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — In his first public appearance since being hospitalized for back spasms, Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze said he can’t wait to get back on the field.

“If I wasn’t grateful enough to be back on the field, I assure you that you’re talking to a man that misses it terribly and just can’t wait to fully get back in it,” Freeze said.

The first-year head coach is recovering from back surgery after suffering severe back spasms which forced him to miss August Training Camp practices. ESPN later reported that Freeze had a life-threatening staph infection enter his bloodstream.

“The administration is excited about the season just like we are and here I am feeling like I can’t give my best,” Freeze said. “And that’s been the toughest challenge. I think I’ve led my staff extremely well, even through this. But I don’t feel like I’ve had the ability to lead our team the way I want to.”

Freeze spoke from the first floor conference room of the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Lynchburg, where he is continuing his recovery process.

Later Friday afternoon, Freeze made a surprise appearance at practice for the first time since undergoing surgery.

The former Ole Miss head coach has spent the last three days watching a live feed of the Flames’ daily practices and communicating via radio to his coaching staff and players.

“You go to our IT department. I had no idea it was possible to watch practice live and not be there,” Freeze said.

The Flames open the season on Saturday, August 31 against Syracuse. And Freeze hopes to be on the sidelines for the opener.

“I may have to be in the booth but I sure hope not,” Freeze said. “I hope I can talk to doctors about allowing me to be on the sidelines. But we’ll cross that bridge then.”

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