Just a week ago, Brett Greenwood's professional football career was dealt a blow when he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Friday, the former University of Iowa and Pleasant Valley High School star sustained an even tougher setback.
Greenwood suffered an apparent heart attack and collapsed while working out on PV's football field about 3 p.m. He was listed in critical condition at Trinity Bettendorf and later transported to University Hospitals in Iowa City.
He showed up at the school Friday afternoon, a few hours before his alma mater was to take on Davenport West in a varsity football game. He exchanged pleasantries with athletic director Randy Teymer and asked whether he could go through a workout on the field. As he did so, he attracted a small crowd as members of PV's sophomore team, preparing for their 4:45 p.m. game, gathered to watch arguably the best player ever produced by their school.
Teymer said it did not appear Greenwood was doing anything that strenuous, but the next time he looked up, about 3 p.m., Greenwood was lying on the turf.
PV medical personnel, who were at Spartan Stadium preparing for the sophomore game, rushed to his aid. Team trainer Jason Viel was the first to reach Greenwood and said he thought it was a heart attack.
"That's just an assumption," Viel said. "Basically, his heart stopped. I know that."
Viel said it took only one shock from a defibrillator to restore a pulse, however.
Greenwood was taken to Trinity Bettendorf, where Teymer said he was on a ventilator before being transported to Iowa City.
"I'm just so glad our trainer and our nurse were already here," Teymer added. "I don't know what would have happened if they hadn't been.''
Greenwood, 23, was a four-year starter at free safety for Iowa and was named second-team All-Big Ten each of the past two years. He signed as a free agent with the Steelers, but was released in the final round of National Football League roster cuts this past weekend. Teymer said Greenwood told him during their brief chat Friday that he still had hopes of catching on with the practice squad of an NFL team.
Teymer added that Greenwood, who started out as a walk-on at Iowa, is the type of person he would love to have every young athlete emulate.
"He's a great kid," Teymer said. "You couldn't ask for a better role model."
The school had an alumni night in January during which it invited college athletes from PV to come back to talk to current athletes. They never really expected a top Division I athlete to make it, but Greenwood was there.
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"He made it a priority to be there. He's that kind of guy," Teymer said.
PV head coach Rusty VanWetzinga said he spoke to Greenwood for 15 or 20 minutes just before he collapsed, "talking about football, talking about life, talking about how he wants to stay in sports.
"He was going to come down around the sideline tonight and be around us,'' VanWetzinga added. "The kids love him around here. His name echoes through the hallways of Pleasant Valley. I had seen him down there running and I thought he was busy, then I thought I better go down there and say hi to him. I'm sure glad I did because of, you know, whatever happened.''
"He's a great, great kid, his parents are great people and the world is a better place with Brett here.''
As news of Greenwood's situation spread, there was an outpouring of support from friends and well-wishers, including the strong safety who lined up alongside him in the Hawkeyes' secondary the past two years.
"My prayers are with Brett Greenwood ..." Tyler Sash said via Twitter. "He has overcome every challenge throughout his life. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Most people only knew the football player; I was blessed to know the person as well."