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|Robertson recovering after fall|
I walked into Heritage Manor Nursing Home Monday with a slightly less-than-honest approach.
This was about three weeks after I first visited with legendary Ferriday High football coach Johnny "Red" Robertson, who broke his hip after falling at his home the first week of April.
I told Robertson I was doing a story on the number of players who played under him who went on to coach football.
I knew if I told Robertson I was writing about his current health status, he would not want to say anything, and certainly not want anyone feeling sorry for him.
Robertson has long been a battler, even long after his playing days at Northwestern State, and coaching days at Ferriday High.
The 84-year-old Robertson was diagnosed with kidney cancer around 2000 and underwent treatment at M.D. Anderson in Houston. He had to have his kidney removed.
Pictures of Robertson when he first started coaching at Ferriday High is like looking at the cover of a "Boys Life" or a promo for a Frankie Avalon beach movie.
Robertson, who was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, said he was fortunate in that he did not need pins to mend the break and only has to have the bones heal before starting rehabilitation and getting out.
The problem is that he cannot put weight on his left foot for fear of re-breaking the fracture.
Robertson said he was going to unlock the front door at his carport when he started feeling woozy.
"I was going to the living room to sit down when I got dizzy and just started spinning around," he said. "I never had anything like that happen to me before in my life. Then all of a sudden I hit the floor."
Robertson spends every day in rehab.
"I just want to be able to walk," Robertson said, dabbing a tear away from his eye, upset that his emotions were getting the best of him.
After all, this is a man who led Ferriday High's football teams to 54 straight games without a loss, winning four straight state championships in the 1950s.
And he is certainly ready to get back home.
Robertson surely misses his morning coffee at the corner table at Panola Woods Country Club, talking with buddies Dr. Claude Current, Joe Schiele, Cecil Brooking and Wayne Miley.
By the way, Coach Robertson is still sharp as a tack.
"James Poole, Bobby Marks, Eddie Hunter, Manson Nelson and Frank Brocato."
That was the answer to my question about players who had played for him and went on to coach.
Johnny Robertson will covet your prayers, not your sympathy.
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