‘Wild Bill’ continues to recover

Oct. 27 hangs on Bill Sproat’s mind. It’s the day he’ll return to his doctors who will check his heart function, determining the future of his health and the future of “Wild Bill” at Aggie basketball games.”Even if, you know, if i have to be pushed out on a gurney, I’m doing it,” Sproat said, talking about his Aggie athletics persona Wild Bill. “I had time, nothing but time, in that hospital to think of sweet costumes. I’ve got some good stuff coming.”Sproat – known as the costume-wearing, USU Athletics cheering Wild Bill to Aggie fans and ESPN watchers – waits to hear if he’ll need technology to assist his heart or even a heart transplant.Early in June, Sproat’s mother saw him spit up blood and told him he needed to go to the emergency room. He hadn’t been feeling well for awhile, and had even coughed so much that he broke a rib. A reluctant Sproat finally conceded and he and his mother went to the InstaCare. From there, he was sent immediately to the emergency room.Sproat’s stay at the ER was short-lived. After a few hours of tests, doctors were seeing blood clots and knew he would need more specialized attention. He was flown to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. It was here that Sproat spent 3 weeks battling for his life.Sproat is now devoted to becoming and staying healthy. He eats only fresh foods, takes daily walks in the morning and completes low resistance physical training. If he pushes himself too hard physically, Sproat said he passes out.The local celebrity from Richmond is also devoted to becoming mentally healthy. Sproat, who has always liked to get out on his own and just think, said he now takes this contemplation to a new level with yoga and guided meditation.Fishing is Sproat’s favorite form of recovery. Sproat said there was a week in the hospital that he doesn’t remember, and when he woke up from that he thought “If I’m done, I want to know I had some good fishing in and lived my life the way I should.” He made a promise to himself to do the things he loved.So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, up bright and early, Sproat and friends go fishing beginning at 5 a.m.”Bear Lake is getting ready for me to go catch some of the big lake trout out there,” Sproat said.Letters and cards from people he loved and people he didn’t know alike showed up at his hospital room in June, Sproat said. He expressed his gratitude for the support he and especially his family received during that time.”I love this valley. I love the people in this valley,” he said.Sproat has had a lot of opportunities as Wild Bill, but he said the best part is seeing his nephews react to his game day antics. His nephews, who are about 3 years in age, love to see Sproat get in costume and lead the USU students in cheering on the Aggie mens basketball team, he said.Doctors allowing, Sproat said he will be back at the USU games as soon as he is healthy enough to. Sproat keeps his costumes a secret and unveils them at the games. From a hula dancer at the game against Hawaii to a Chippendale dancer for the BYU game, Sproat picks his costumes specific to whoever the Aggies are playing on the court. He said while in the hospital he thought of several costumes, pulling “a lot of sweet things” from his childhood for inspiration.”My mom’s going to be proud of me,” he said.- rachel@cvdaily.com

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