(Photo courtesy of Minnesota Athletics)

I can't describe for you what happens during a seizure.

My brain isn't cognizant enough at the moment to tell you what is happening to my body during a seizure, and maybe that's not a bad thing. Once you realize the effect it has on those around you, maybe it's best that I can't see what's happening to me.

All I can tell you is that by this point in my life, I've literally experienced dozens of seizures. The first public one was at Southern Illinois on the sidelines during a game, but they didn't stop there.

The seizures were probably exacerbated by poor health habits. When you’re building a program, you have to do a lot more than coaching. There’s fundraising, speaking engagements, and the day-to-day battle of changing the culture. It felt like I was always on the road - recruiting, fundraising, coaching, or doing anything else I could do to help turn the Minnesota program around.

As a result, I didn't take good care of my body through proper diet and exercise. I also couldn't sleep. I couldn't shut my brain off, because there was always one more play to work on or one more recruit we could have signed. I was sleeping two or three hours per night, week after week, month after month, year after year.

(Photo courtesy of Minnesota Athletics)

Those habits didn't help my epilepsy, and at a certain point the epilepsy began to fight back. During a game against New Mexico State in 2011, I had another seizure on the sidelines. Two years later, I had one of my worst seizures ever, and was given the wrong medication, which if you know anything about epilepsy, that’s the worst thing you can do and can potentially kill you.

By October of the 2015 season, my body had had enough. Doctors told me that I was going to lose some - if not most - of my short term memory. I listened to them. I love football, but I love my family way more. So with our team at 4-3 and with our team about to play Michigan, I resigned. I had been coaching football for over 30 years, and was the Big Ten Coach of the Year the season before, and just like that it was over.

The reason I resigned was because I could not coach the way I wanted to and give our players 110 percent. I did not want to cheat our players, that’s not how I was raised. If I had stayed through the end of my contract, I would have made another $10 million, but I thought about my dad. He always told me that no matter what you are getting paid, you give everything you’ve got, and you don’t cheat the person that is paying you.

The day after I resigned, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, but the phone started to ring. And even after I didn't pick up, it rang again. And again. And again. By the fifth phone call my wife intervened. "You need to take the call," Rebecca said. "It's Jim Harbaugh.”

Jim was the coach at Michigan and was just as busy as I was during the season, but if he was calling five times my wife knew it was important.

"Hey, let me tell you, you've got a job any time you want it," Jim said. We'll work out the details, he told me, but just know that you've got a job. Even though I never did join his staff, I hope Jim knows how much that phone call meant to me.

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Thomas Hager