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November 16, 2012
Harbaugh: Recent heart episode won't change how I coach

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Jim Harbaugh addressed the media for the first time since his Thursday procedure to address an irregular heartbeat and made it very clear the episode would not change his approach to his job.

"No limits," Harbaugh said. "Going about everything as normal."

To underscore that notion, Harbaugh said he stopped by practice following his late-morning cardioversion procedure at Stanford Hospital. "He just couldn't leave us the whole day," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "He just had to come back here and show us he was healthy."

Fullback Bruce Miller said Harbaugh acted as if nothing had happened. "He'd never show a weakness to us, so he definitely downplayed it."

Harbaugh revealed that he had had a more severe episode with an irregular heartbeat 13 years ago when he was a quarterback with the Chargers. Harbaugh said he had an ablation -- using a catheter to scar or destroy the tissue that triggers an abnormal heart rhythm -- at that point to deal with the issue. He said that procedure occurred in August and that he may have missed a couple of practices.

"The atrial flutter is something I've had for a while, probably pretty close to all my life," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said doctors gave him medication and suggestions about diet -- cutting back on caffeine, for example. But he said they didn't say anything about reducing stress, which is high among coaches in the NFL.

Harbaugh said he was eager to get back to practice Thursday and said he watched about an hour of the session.

"That's not a good feeling," Harbaugh said of missing a day. "I've had that dream before, many times, when you're supposed to be taking a test or the team's out there practicing and you're not out there. So -- glad to be out here."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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