"This is the saddest day of my life." - Coach Bryant, upon hearing of Pat Trammell's death. They say that the only time Coach Bryant was ever seen weeping in public was at Pat Trammell’s funeral. For those of you who aren’t Tide fans, and don’t know Pat’s story, Google him and read the Wikipedia account. Pat was one of my heroes when I was an adolescent. When I was 13, I fell off a porch, landing my side on a large rock, rupturing a kidney. I was in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama for several weeks (surgery to remove the ruptured kidney). Pat, having made the decision to become a doctor like his dad, rather than play in the NFL, was a 3rd or 4th year medical student and one of my doctors. He was rounding on his patients one day with one of the attending physicians, and it just so happened that my dad, who at that time was a busy internal medicine practitioner himself, was in my room checking on me (with one of the Catholic Sisters!). Of course, being an Alabama graduate himself, and being closely involved with the medical school, my dad knew this famous All-American Alabama quarterback and well respected medical student and introduced Pat to me, reminding me of his famous football record at the University. Because I needed to have a fresh I.V. started, the attending directed Pat to get the I.V. started. Pat was visibly nervous, as he was being asked to start an I.V. on the young son of a well-respected Birmingham physician, while that physician-father was there to witness his work. Poor Pat! He stuck me three times and just couldn’t get the vein! I’m sure it was because he was so nervous, but he was clearly mortified! I felt so sorry for him (and me!), and it was obvious that my dad ALSO felt very sorry for Pat. He assured Pat that it was OK, and my dad started the I.V. for him. I will never forget Pat Trammell being one of my doctors and sharing this poor fellows experience that day. A year or so later, Pat was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer, and died in 1968 at the age of 28. So sad. Vince Lombardi would pressure Coach Bryant to persuade Pat to come to play for him with the Green Bay Packers after graduation. Coach Bryant responded that "Pat is too smart to play professional football ... he will go on to medical school to fulfill his personal goals."
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