“I don’t believe in luck. Not in coaching. You’re not lucky to win. We weren’t lucky here. Luck played no part in that.”
— Rodney Guin
“It wasn’t about the doctors. Doctors are great. We’ve got to have them, but the person who healed me was not a doctor. The doctors had already said they couldn’t do anything else.”
— Rodney Guin
On Sunday, June 15 — Father’s Day — Haughton head coach Rodney Guin gave testimony before a full house at Central Assembly of God Church.
In the audience were his wife, Tracy, his daughters Mallory and Maggie, his mom and dad and other family members. Before them and the congregation, a somewhat hoarse and nervous Guin spoke for 50 minutes about the heart attack he suffered on April 25 and how he and his family got through it. He gave the topic the solemnity it deserved, but also sprinkled his speech with humor.
Guin didn’t wake up until 13 days after the heart attack, so his account of those days comes from what he was told by family members and doctors.
Guin began by recounting his life and how blessed he was to that point.
“Everything worked,” he said. “I’m telling you that because one day it ain’t going to work. But for so many years, except for a few bumps in the road, my life was just great. … I think sometimes when you get content in life, God throws you a curveball. On April 25, he threw us a good one.”
Because of space limitations, it’s impossible to include here everything he said, but here are a few excerpts.
On the day Guin had the heart attack, he and Haughton principal Gene Couvillion were returning home from New Orleans from a softball playoff game:
“This is where I really want you to pay attention, because on this night, this is when God started watching over me. We got to Natchitoches. Mr. Couvillion had driven all the way down there and all the way back as he does most times. We got to Natchitoches and I said, ‘Why don’t you let me drive us home? It’s only an hour. You can sit over there on the side.’ And he gladly did that. You see, within an hour from the time I got behind the wheel of that car, I would have a heart attack.
“And there are a lot of what-ifs here, and I’m not a what-if person. Somebody asked me this, ‘What if, traveling 75 down I-49, I had that heart attack; what would have happened then? Not just to me, but also to him.’ I really think God let me get to Shreveport. I believe that.
“That’s the first of many things you’ll see over the next two weeks, I’m telling you, I think God was all over it.
“So we get to Shreveport. I left my car at Steadman’s (sporting goods store). So we stopped off there and said our goodbyes and all that kind of stuff. I get in my car — 20 minutes from this time I’m going to collapse in my home.
And I’m driving home, in my car, by myself, and this is another one of those what-ifs. What if I would have had the heart attack in that car by myself? God didn’t allow that to happen. He let me get home. I know he let me get home. You can see the whole thing evolving here, and this is the thing that gets me. People will say — and if I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it 100 times — you were lucky you got home.
I don’t believe in luck. Not in coaching. You’re not lucky to win. We weren’t lucky here. Luck played no part in that. God got us from point A to point B.
“That’s the only way it could’ve happened. Luck doesn’t factor into it. I’ve heard that many, many times. People ask you, ‘What happened? You were lucky this happened, you were lucky that happened.’ Luck had no part in this thing. If you believe that (luck played a part) you don’t believe God can take care of us.”
It didn’t stop there. After making it inside, Guin collapsed and hit his head on the kitchen counter. He decided to go into the living room and lie on the couch. But he fell again, this time face first. That restarted his heart.
His dogs started barking. “They never bark,” he told the church audience.
His wife woke up and called 911 and the EMS team got him to Willis-Knighton.
“Don’t tell me God didn’t have a hand in every bit of the stuff that we went through,” he said.
Guin was eventually taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. For four days things got better. Then they got worse. His lungs filled with fluids, he got pneumonia. He contracted ARDS, a lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the blood. He had a blood clot in his leg.
For the second time — the first was the night he had the heart attack — his wife was told there was nothing more they could do. Her husband was probably not going to make it.
Here is Guin’s testimony on what his wife went through:
“This is the key point of the whole story and I want ya’ll to listen real close here. My wife and daughters had a couple of hotel rooms at Baylor. They have a TV station and it has bible verses on it all the time.
“It’s got some music and waterfalls and I guess peaceful stuff that they want you to look at. But it’s got Bible verses on there that you can read at night or all day long. My wife goes back to her room, and again, some of ya’ll may have been in that position, I don’t know what it would be like if someone told me that. I don’t know what I would have done if my wife was there and they said, ‘You’re wife is not going to make it,’ what’s going through her head.
“The Bible tells us that God’s not going to give us more than we can handle, and I think at this point my wife was to her max loaded. She was loaded up. Didn’t know what was going to take place, didn’t know what to do.
Two young daughters, I say young — they’re in their 20s— and for the second time she said, “Your dad is not going to make it.’ She looked at the TV screen, reading those words, Psalm 32, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life, I will advise you, I will always watch over you.’
“My wife prayed that night — and I think this is the turning point — my wife prayed that night and she told God, ‘I need some peace in this situation. If you want to take my husband and their father, if you want to take him to heaven, take him. We know he’s going to be in a good place. If you want to leave him here with us we’d be more than happy for that to happen too. But we’re good either way. Just God, give me some peace.’
“She was willing to give me up. She gave everything she had to God to make the decision. I really believed, when she prayed that prayer, that’s when God decided we’re going to bring the boy back; we’re going to bring him back. She gave everything she had. My kids did too. … And from that point on, two days later, two days after they told them he was probably going to die, boom, I woke up to see my family. I couldn’t talk because I had this tube down my throat, but I could see them, I could squeeze their hand, I could respond.”
Because of what he had gone through and muscle deterioration from being in bed for two solid weeks, Guin was told it was going to take him 60 days to get back to where he was before the attack. But after just five days in rehab, he walked down the hall by himself.
On May 24, he and his family drove back to Haughton, looking at “welcome home” signs along the way once they got off 220 onto Highway 80. Local media had chronicled his story in detail. Guin found it hard to believe he was such a big deal.
Here is his testimony about that and what he thinks it all means:
“I told (Tracy) this is a lot of hoopla for a high school football coach, and that’s all I am, a high school football coach, nothing earth-shattering, nothing that important as far as doing big things in the world. She looked back and said, ‘This wasn’t about you,’ and I said, ‘What?’ and she said, ‘This whole deal wasn’t really about you.’
“I want to read this right here, Acts III, ‘Peter reached down to a lame man and touched the lame man and he began to jump and praise God.’ Here is the important part, you see, even the lame man was not the end, it was only the beginning.
“People saw — he was in the marketplace, ya’ll know the story — he was in the marketplace with lots of people — they saw the man healed. They were filled with awe about what God did,.
“You see it wasn’t just about the man which was me, it was about the community, which was us. I was simply an instrument used by God to show a lot of people that He is a miracle worker. He’s in the healing business. I told Brother Andy the other day — and this may sound crazy — it all seems neat now that He used me. It’s like, wow, He used me to do that.
“And I had to suffer a heart attack to do it, my family had to suffer, but I think it’s neat — He used me to show people, hey, God still works miracles. I can promise you my family believes He works miracles; my friends that saw me in the hospital, they believe that now.”
Russell Hedges is the sports editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. You can contact him by e-mail at rhedges@bossierpress. com