Life-saving surgery on coach just days before championship win

Coach group shot during game last Sat. evening at Lavelle stadium
Kyle Moodt, (2nd from right) at Lavalle Stadium, evening of Suffolk County DII Football Championship game.

The Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke team performed a life-saving surgery on a Long Island high school coach just four days before a championship game took place on Saturday, November 20.

Kyle Moodt, 38, a Bellport High School Varsity Assistant Football Coach, 5th grade general education teacher, father, and husband, battled debilitating headaches daily since July 2021. He and his wife Michelle have three children ages 3 (Emma), 5 (Brody) and 7 (Kayla), and live in Center Moriches. 

The chronic headaches were isolated in one area, the front right side of his head. Moodt said, "They were constant from wake up to bedtime. I've had two back surgeries in the past and I would probably take that sciatica pain over the headaches. The headaches never went away. It was hard to function with a headache all day long. Took a lot of Tylenol®. At times, I would have to lay down, whether I had practice or even in school. It was affecting my teaching in the classroom. I was teaching more from my desk than I have in most of my years. When I went home, after work, I was very tired. I felt like I wasn't able to contribute to the household as much and more fell on my wife's shoulders."

Scan of area prior to surgery
Scan of area prior to surgery
Scan of area after surgery
Scan of area after surgery

Shortly after Moodt saw doctors at the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center, the medical team quickly identified that these were not normal headaches from reading a computed tomography (CT) and a computed tomography angiogram (CTA) scan. David Fiorella, MD, PhD, Neurointerventional Radiologist; Director, Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center; and Co-Director, Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center and Michael Guido, MD, Neurologist; Director, Stony Brook Neurology Stroke Program; and Co-Director, Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center determined Moodt had a life-threatening malformation of the arteries in his brain. The diagnosis was arteriovenous fistula, or DAVF. This dangerous increased pressure in his head was a risk for fragile veins bursting which would cause a life-threatening brain bleed.  

On November 11, Dr. Fiorella used an angiogram to map out the malformation and made a treatment plan that would allow Moodt to be at the football team's playoff game just four days later. It involved treating Moodt’s complex brain malformation on November 16 through a small puncture site in Moodt’s right wrist. This minimally invasive surgery took less than one hour. The special procedure Moodt had was embolization of a dural fistual with Onyx®. The goal of the procedure was to block off the abnormal arteries while preserving the normal arteries and veins.

Moodt was ecstatic with the outcome. "Dr. Fiorella said I'm going to get this taken care of and I felt great just 24 hours after the successful surgery. It's amazing. I didn’t have brain fog. Had a good night's sleep. I slept through the night. Woke up without a headache. I didn’t even take  any medicine or Tylenol® in those 24 hours. The headaches that I've had for months are not there. Luckily, we were able to get to the bottom of this." 

"His angiogram showed the cure after the treatment and his MRI and MRA of his blood vessels indicated his brain is completely normal. He is neurologically perfect," said Dr. Fiorella.

Kyle Moodt at Stony Brook University hospital recovering from surgery
Kyle Moodt as a patient at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Moodt is grateful for Dr. Fiorella's expertise and quality of care received at Stony Brook University Hospital. "About a year ago, he performed surgery on my father who had a stroke. I was very happy to know I was going to him for care. I remember, he put me, my mom, my brother and my sister at ease, talking and dealing with my father's illness. So, if he's confident, then I'm confident. And, they set the standards pretty high at Stony Brook." 

This positive outcome with Dr. Fiorella couldn't have been more timely as it meant that Moodt would not miss the opportunity to coach the offensive and defensive line when his Bellport Clippers faced off against the Lindenhurst Lions for the DII Suffolk County Championship at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Saturday evening, November 20. That had a positive outcome as well. Bellport won its first Suffolk title since 2010, with a score of 13-0.

In sharing what it meant for Stony Brook doctors to urgently treat Moodt with very little recovery time needed to get him back to his "two families" touches him on a very emotional level. "Football is a passion of mine, but my main goal is the three kids I have at home. Definitely, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to make it to the game as the team got ready for one of the biggest moments in their lives, but more importantly, family and my well-being came first. But the football team is family too. Some of these kids I've known since fifth grade. Some I played with their fathers or uncles as an offensive lineman for three years between 1998 and 2000. My parents are still very involved. Football brings the community together. We have all walks of races and socioeconomic backgrounds. My wife will cook for the lineman dinners at my house with 10 to 15 kids. We're building a community and camaraderie between the team and this leads to our success. Kids care about each other. As coaches, we care about them too, on and off the field. It's why I love the district and where I am. It's a big family affair."

For more information about the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center, click here

Group shot of Suffolk County division II Championship Bellport Clippers football team

The victorious Bellport Clippers football team, winners of the Suffolk County DII Football Championship