Liberty coach Hugh Freeze was sidelined in recent days with severe back pain, but for a coach who has dealt with back pain for a while, it was nothing new.

However, by last weekend, the pain was so bad he couldn’t even stand up, according to comments he made to ESPN’s Chris Low:

“I pushed through the day and watched film with the staff and players and walked through that night, and it was getting tighter and tighter,” Freeze said. “By the time I got home, I could barely get up the stairs. And by mid-morning the next day, I couldn’t walk or do anything, and we had to call the ambulance to come get me.”

After Liberty president Jerry Falwell consulted with a number of experts in the field, including U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Freeze was transferred to the University of Virginia hospital.

The diagnosis? A rare form of staph infection that had gotten into his bloodstream. After surgery on Friday, Freeze is recovering, but he said things could have been much worse:

“The doctors told me if it had been another 24 hours, that strand of bacteria could have gotten to my heart and that I would have been fighting for my life,” Freeze told ESPN. “It’s the way God works because there’s no doubt that bacteria would have killed me if President Falwell wasn’t so quick to make sure we got the right people involved.”

Freeze will be in the hospital through the weekend and into next week, but the former Ole Miss coach is recovering from what could have been a much more serious situation.