Two-time Gophers football captain and linebackers coach Mike Sherels reached a $1 million settlement with the University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview for treatment in 2016 that left him in a coma fighting for his life.

Sherels, 34, and his wife, Emily, signed the settlement with the Board of Regents on May 23. The U revealed the settlement on Wednesday in response to a data practices request. There appears to be no lawsuit filed in state or federal court detailing allegations of wrongdoing by the hospital.

In 2003, Sherels was a walk-on linebacker for the Gophers from Rochester John Marshall High School. He won numerous off-the-field awards for sportsmanship and was the only Gophers football walk-on to be named captain twice. Under former coaches Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys, Sherels coached the linebackers. He left the U after Claeys was fired in January 2017.

Sherels’ harrowing medical journey began in late July 2016 when he sought treatment for blood in his stool. Tests ruled out common gastrointestinal disorders, but doctors were unable to locate the source of the bleeding. His extensive blood loss and drops in hemoglobin led to a series of transfusions.

One night, he passed out on his way to the bathroom because of low hemoglobin levels. As he awoke, doctors were preparing the heart defibrillator. An angiogram revealed the source of the bleeding at the entrance to his large intestine, where doctors found and repaired an abnormal cluster of blood vessels.

A week later, he went home, but experienced excruciating pain in his stomach. He and his wife were in the car on their way back to the U but detoured to Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville because it was closer.

In the hospital, he was vomiting and sweating and his abdomen became firm. A scan revealed a gastrointestinal perforation.

He also had an allergic reaction to medication that was causing blood clots to form in his intestines. Sherels was rushed to the U in an ambulance for emergency surgery.

A surgeon removed all of his small intestine, the right side of his colon and part of his transverse colon. He spent five days in a coma and on a ventilator. Doctors told his wife that his chances for survival were slim and that even if he did survive, his quality of life would be difficult.

But Sherels survived.

In January 2017, he had two surgeries to reconnect what remained of his intestines.

He was able to eat again and by May 2017, when he received the Courage Award from the Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation, Sherels no longer needed a tube in his stomach to remove fluids and bile. The 12-inch scar on his abdomen was healing.

Sherels was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Richard Beeson, chairman of the litigation committee for the Board of Regents, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

His brother Marcus Sherels also played for the Gophers and was the longtime kick returner for the Vikings.


Correction: Previous versions of this article misstated Mike Sherels' coaching term with the Gophers. He coached under Tracy Claeys after Jerry Kill left because of ill health. Sherels was not retained after Claeys was fired in January 2017.