Matt Millen Featured In Episode Of ‘The B1G Story’
Former Penn State All-American defensive lineman Matt Millen’s journey back to broadcast booth was chronicled in an episode of “The B1G Story” Tuesday night.
Two years ago, Millen was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare condition that can cause an irregular heartbeat or enlarged heart, and a year later, stepped away from his job as a color commentator with the Big Ten Network. He proved his resilience, though, when he returned to the broadcast booth during Penn State’s 2019 Blue-White spring game.
The 30-minute episode opened up with Millen enduring his recovery process in July 2018. He discussed his “work for everything you got” mentality that he developed growing up with seven sisters and three brothers.
The defensive lineman carried this mindset all the way through his time at Penn State and his career in the NFL. Millen was a four-year letterman at Penn State and went on to be drafted to the Oakland Raiders in 1980. He went on to play with the Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins over the course of a 12-year career and finished with four super bowl rings.
After looking back at his career, Millen discussed how he went six years struggling with fatigue and shortness of breath but couldn’t find a doctor who could provide him a reason for it. That was until the summer of 2017 when Millen traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and was finally diagnosed with amyloidosis.
Millen’s wife Patricia discussed how important covering football was for him after his diagnosis.
“That really gave him something look forward to every weekend,” she said. “To have work to do, and to keep him moving forward.”
Despite that, the episode discussed just how tough it was for Millen to get through that 2017 season due to his condition. He went into detail on the daily struggles he had that year.
“I couldn’t walk 50 feet,” Millen said. “I remember I got to Michigan Stadium and thought ‘I have to walk that incline and it’s going to be tough.’ I had to bend over a few times and I was breathing real hard.”
In looking back at that season, Millen received plenty of credit for his efforts from several of his colleagues and family members.
Millen tried to push through the following 2018 season but stepped down five weeks into it. He was forced to do so in October when doctors discovered “serious concerns” during a routine check-up. He was taken to the hospital immediately to protect against possible blood clotting.
On Christmas Eve of 2018, though, Millen underwent a successful heart transplant and began his road to recovery. Millen returned home to his family after 105 days in the hospital. BTN covered much of his recovery at home throughout the first few months of 2019.
Just four months later, cameras followed Millen as he returned to Happy Valley to call the 2019 Blue-White spring game.
“Last year when I had to step back from [commentating], I always thought I would get back,” Millen said. “I didn’t know when. But I always had it in mind that I’d like to do this spring game.”
Millen still focused on recovering over the summer, but his doctors allowed him to return to the booth for good this season. The episode concluded with Millen calling Michigan’s game against Middle Tennessee during week one of the 2019 season.
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