Sports

UNC coach Roy Williams escorted back to locker room after vertigo

UNC’s Roy Williams following vertigo attack at Clemson: ‘It’s vertigo. It’s excruciating pain for a little while’

Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Clemson on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. Williams left the game in the first half with a vertigo attack.
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Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Clemson on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. Williams left the game in the first half with a vertigo attack.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams had to be helped off the court Saturday after he took a fall late in the first half of UNC’s game against Clemson.

Roy Williams appeared to be turning towards the bench when he fell forward. Assistant coach Steve Robinson caught him as he fell.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell motioned for officials to stop play.

“Obviously, I was concerned for his health,” Brownell said. “I know he’s had some vertigo issues. I assumed it was that, but I certainly was hoping it wasn’t something more serious.

“I spoke to him here in the hallway after the game. He said he thinks he’s going to be OK. So I wish him the best. Hate for that to happen.”

Williams had to be escorted back to the locker room. As he walked back off the floor, the crowd cheered and Williams gave them a wave.

A school spokesperson said Williams’ fall was caused by one of Williams’ periodic attacks of vertigo. He took a knee after getting dizzy in UNC’s game against Louisville on Jan. 12.

Williams did not return, and Robinson served in the interim. Robinson filled in for Williams when he had to leave a 2016 game at Boston College after a vertigo episode.

“When something like that happens it kind of shocks you a little bit,” Robinson said. “But I’ve been around him and I know that I’ve got to spring into action. Our trainer and our staff, their job is to secure him and make sure he’s OK medically. And then I’ve got to make sure I jump our guys and get into them right way.”

The Tar Heels pulled out the win over Clemson 81-79.

Williams briefly spoke to the media after the game. He said it was vertigo.

“I jerked around and tried to get Seventh (Woods) in for Kenny (Williams) because he was struggling shooting the ball and we made him work so hard guarding Marcquise Reed,” Roy Williams said after the game. “Wanted to give him a break, and then I went down. I was in excruciating pain for a little while. I started feeling a heck of a lot better. We were up six or seven, I didn’t want to jinx it.”

Photojournalist Robert Willett contributed to this report.

Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.


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