LAFAYETTE, La. — Hugh Freeze admitted not long after the conclusion of Saturday’s game against Louisiana that he felt tired and a little weak. It was a longer day than it has been recently for the Liberty football coach, who flew on a private jet from Lynchburg to Lafayette, arrived at Cajun Field one hour prior to kickoff, and spent the entirety of the 3 hour, 17 minute game sitting in a medical chair in the visiting coaches’ booth.
But he was adamant about one thing: His recovery wasn’t in jeopardy because of the added workload he took on to be with the team for its first road game of the season.
“I don’t think that I’ve done anything that has set me back any further,” he said.
Freeze for the second week in a row coached from the booth, something he hadn’t done previously as a coach or coordinator at the collegiate level.
His Liberty coaching debut last weekend garnered national attention as he laid in a hospital bed and called plays from the home coaches’ booth at Williams Stadium against Syracuse.
The Friday news of the university’s purchase of the medical chair also generated national buzz as Freeze continues to recover from back surgery for a staph infection Aug. 16 at the University of Virginia Medical Center, almost one week after he began experiencing severe back spasms.
The chair, a MediLuxe MD4-2000 Deluxe Treatment Chair, cost the university about $3,800, according to Liberty senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer Todd Patulski, and it will be transported back to Lynchburg in the football team’s equipment truck.
The medical chair will be available for Freeze to use, if necessary, for next weekend’s home game against Buffalo.
“We’ll have it ready to go,” he said. “I can see the game from here. We called some good plays tonight. We didn’t get the production out of it that I thought we should have, thus that means we’re not teaching it properly enough.”
Freeze said he no longer needs the assistance of a wheelchair and is using the walker to get around.
He said during a conference call earlier Saturday with his doctors that Dr. Dilan Ellegala, who performed the back surgery on Freeze, said the coach was “probably still a week away from being on the field” whether he stayed in Lynchburg or traveled to coach the game.
“It was worth it for me to be here,” Freeze said.
Freeze’s next step is to get back onto the practice field. He mentioned after his surgery that the initial days of being on the field for practice may have to come in a golf cart so he is not overexerting his surgically repaired back, and that will be a step in the right direction after not being able to attend practices so far during his recovery.
“I do know I can bring something to us being more efficient,” he said. “I hadn’t been out there in 20 days and it’s old, it’s sick, I’m tired of it. I’m really tired of it. I’m praying daily that that day is coming soon that I can at least be out there in some capacity.”