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A coach's resilience

Hopper suffered an aortic dissection. He was airlifted to the hospital for emergency heart surgery in Nevada and when he came back home they rushed him back. Now, he's making a comeback.

Posted: Jul 28, 2020 6:48 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2020 6:53 PM

PARADISE, Calif. -- There’s no question Paradise High football coach Andy Hopper’s heart bleeds green and gold and his heart pumps through his football team. But in September 2019, Hopper’s heart couldn’t take it anymore.

“The valve from the top of my heart dissected from my heart and I felt it immediately, I was sleeping, I had my wife rush me to the hospital and that’s where it started,” said Hopper.

Hopper suffered an aortic dissection. He was airlifted to the hospital for emergency heart surgery in Nevada and when he came back home they rushed him back.

“It was the most traumatic. When they got me to the hospital, they did the tests and the one doctor said ‘I’m giving you a one percent chance to live and I need you to know that, and you need to make peace with your situation as you go on the helicopter because we don’t think you’re going to make it,” recalled Hopper.

Hopper made it, just like his resilient team.

“I felt every prayer that everyone gave to me,” said Hopper. “I don’t know how to describe the feeling but I knew people were praying for me and if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I would’ve survived.”

Hopper returned to the football field in October and was met with open arms from his Bobcats.

Now in his 25th season with the team, Hopper is taking this break to spend time with his family and is working on his new home in Paradise.

Hopper moved into his home weeks before his surgery and nearly a year after he lost his home to the Camp Fire.

“I’m a survivor. “My town has been great for me, they’ve shown me so much support and love. They call me a miracle, but I call myself the cockroach of Paradise because I just won’t die.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 879645

Reported Deaths: 16982
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2893666877
Riverside640751272
San Bernardino597791021
Orange570711410
San Diego52735853
Kern33448410
Fresno30051429
Sacramento24425468
Santa Clara23355378
Alameda22738433
San Joaquin21187484
Contra Costa18157234
Stanislaus17341392
Tulare17120275
Ventura13901160
Imperial12475335
San Francisco11901133
Monterey1109183
San Mateo10810157
Santa Barbara9608119
Merced9314152
Sonoma8934129
Kings815983
Solano711774
Marin7019124
Madera488673
San Luis Obispo400932
Placer397852
Yolo307356
Butte301950
Santa Cruz270623
Napa188214
Sutter179612
Shasta172329
San Benito140314
El Dorado12834
Yuba125310
Mendocino110321
Tehama7748
Lassen7571
Lake67015
Glenn6393
Nevada5828
Humboldt5549
Colusa5456
Calaveras33317
Amador31316
Tuolumne2494
Inyo21515
Siskiyou1840
Mono1752
Del Norte1731
Mariposa782
Plumas540
Modoc270
Trinity230
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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Paradise
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