Broken heart contributed to Joe‚??s death Paul Sokoloski Opinion
Last Modified: February 19. 2013 1:20AM
They say his spirit broke.
They say being kicked off Penn State‚??s sidelines killed Joe Paterno.
‚??I‚??m not going to say that,‚?Ě said Harry Hamilton, a former Nanticoke Area star who played defensive back for Paterno at Penn State in the early 1980s. ‚??(But) I‚??m not going to disagree with that.‚?Ě
There is no medical evidence to support such supposition.
Dejection is never listed as a cause of death.
‚??No,‚?Ě said Dr. David Greenwald, who practices oncology and internal medicine at Medical Oncology Associates in Kingston. ‚??Patients don‚??t actually die from a broken heart.‚?Ě
But having one can whittle away at the will to live. Especially for an 85-year-old college football icon who‚??s suddenly an outcast.
‚??I‚??m not a doctor,‚?Ě said Hamilton, who instead became a lawyer after playing in the NFL with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ‚??But I am a human being. And I would think from what I know of Joe Paterno, I think there was a profound disappointment in there that really, those making the decision did not handle it in a much better and deserving fashion.‚?Ě
He means the people on Penn State‚??s board of trustees, who fired Paterno in the middle of his 46th season in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that shook the university.
That made those who once played for Paterno shake with anger.
‚??Where was the due process?‚?Ě demanded Lance Hamilton, Harry‚??s brother who starred at Meyers, played under Paterno and is also currently an attorney for the U.S. Army. ‚??To me, it seemed some people were reacting a little quickly and disgruntled. The due process wasn‚??t there for him.‚?Ě
Even Sandusky, charged with sexually abusing 10 young boys, gets to defend himself in court.
Paterno didn‚??t even get to debate.
He was handed a piece of paper with a phone number, and when he dialed it, Paterno was tersely told his services were no longer needed as Penn State‚??s football coach.
Was he served a death sentence?
Paterno was dismissed from Penn State on Nov. 9. Just days afterward, the man who spent 61 years carving a legendary, Hall of Fame career as a head coach and assistant was diagnosed with lung cancer.
They called it treatable at the time.
‚??We don‚??t know anything about his lung cancer,‚?Ě said Greenwald, who didn‚??t treat Paterno but works with cancer patients daily. ‚??If it is advanced, you can offer something to the patient, but you can‚??t cure it. So yes, it‚??s treatable.
‚??It‚??s a different way of saying you can‚??t cure it.‚?Ě
Certainly, there was no way to heal Paterno‚??s pain over losing the coaching life he loved. He died Sunday, little more than two months after he was dismissed.
‚??Joe‚??s always been a fighter,‚?Ě Lance Hamilton said. ‚??Could this (firing) have added to some of the emotional strain? Could this have added to his inability to fight cancer?
‚??We see it every day,‚?Ě agreed Greenwald. ‚??Old people just don‚??t want to try ‚?? ‚??Don‚??t waste energy on me, I lived long enough.‚?? I‚??m not sure it‚??s a broken heart. I think it‚??s more indirect as opposed to direct.‚?Ě
But there‚??s an unequivocal correlation here.
When they told Joe Paterno his time was up at Penn State, he lost his life.