Before I start, I just want to let you know that I don't want to come off as some sort of monger-er of rumors, but as a veteran poster here, I just want to pass along some inside information I've learned recently about Joe Paterno's (possibly) ailing health.
As some of you might know, I live and work in State College, PA....about a 10 minute walk from campus....and I was recently speaking (just earlier tonight actually) with a friend of my uncle's who works for the police department here...some kind of administrative role iirc.
He told us that the police department has been put on guard in case Paterno were to pass away in the very near future.
Within the last month or so, Joe Pa has been canceling appearances at a number of events in which he was scheduled to speak or be at it, including a number of alumni functions that he has always attended in the past. He was also supposed to speak at or have something to do with an event that took place when Nebraska entered the Big 10 and didn't....something that made a lot of people start to question what was really going on with him since that was something he never would have missed. The reasoning coming out of the university is that he is suffering from either the flu or some sort of lung condition or "an adverse reaction to dental anesthetics".... This I have a link for:
But this guy in the police department was telling us that Joe-Pa actually suffered a stroke, and that the Penn State media has been keeping it on the downlow.
So, you may be asking something like "Why do the police need to know this? Why keep it on the DL?" Well, State College isn't exactly a huge city....it's not super small by any stretch of the imagination, but this police administrator I was talking to said that there's a fear within the university and department that if Joe Pa were to suddenly pass away, there could be a flood of over 1 million people into town for his services and to mourn and what not...and he explained the estimation too. On game days, the town usually gets around 200,000 or so people coming in. Over 100,000 in the stadium plus countless more tailgating around it and watching it from various places within the town. Add in the hundreds of thousands of other fans, alumni, past players, rival coaches/players, NCAA folks....it could easily be an overload to the city.
Also, the local hospital has been put on standby. My police source said that when Paterno was in the hospital last for a minor surgery (on his leg or something...) over a dozen staff members looked into his medical file just to check out his history and some leaked it...leading to several people being fired for a violation of the hippo.
So the hospital and police department are buckled down in case something bad were to happen in the near future....
This isn't like, verified info that I'm taking from a major media source, but I know this guy, I know his job, and I don't have any reason to disbelieve what he said.
I just wanted to pass along this info to you guys here. Hopefully this turns out to just be precautionary and Joe-Pa is on the sidelines ready to go this season. But if not...you now know why that may be earlier than most of the rest of the world.