Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka suffered a mild heart attack after his morning workout today at the team's training camp and was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Ditka, 49, was given medication for a blocked artery, according to Dr. Jay Alexander, a staff cariologist at Lake Forest Hospital."It's too soon to say when he will be back and resuming his duties," Alexander said. "He suggested 48 hours."
"He felt a little rueful about all this. He was beginning to realize that there was a good reason to be brought to the hospital," Bears President Mike McCaskey said after speaking briefly with Ditka.
McCaskey said Ditka appeared to be in good spirits, and had joked that he had planned to visit a friend at the same hospital later today. Ditka's wife, Diana, was at the hospital.
Bryan Harlan, a Bears spokesman, said Ditka suffered the chest pains after he finished his daily exercise routine. Ditrka was getting dressed to make a brief appearance at a rally for George Bush at Stevenson High School in nearby Prairie View, Ill.
Ditka, accompanied by several of the team's assistant coaches, was taken to the hospital by private vehicle from Halas Hall at the camp, Harlan said. The group left the camp about 8:30 a.m. EST.
Assistant coach Johnny Roland said Ditka suffered mild chest pains Monday as well, but apparently did nothing about them. Roland said Ditka did not want to go to the hospital but was convinced by three assistant coaches.
"He was fighting us, not necessarily fighting us, but discouraging us from going to get help," Roland said. "But you could tell he was obviously in dire need of help."
McCaskey joked later, "I know one of the reasons that he did not want to go to the hospital is that he wanted to introduce Vice President Bush very badly."
He led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 1985 and entered this season with a 61-27 record.