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Rams Coach Mertz to Miss Rest of Season

October 24, 2005

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz will miss the rest of the season due to a bacterial infection of a heart valve that has already sidelined him for two games.

Martz told the team Monday that after being examined and evaluated by his treating physician, Dr. Victoria Fraser, that his illness will prevent him from performing his duties. Fraser is co-chief of the division of infectious diseases at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Martz, 54, has had what his doctors have termed an acute bacterial infection since the beginning of the season, and was admitted to a hospital on Sept. 30 for treatment. On Oct. 5, Martz announced that he had been sick for several weeks and that his condition prevented him from attending practice.

Five days later he was readmitted to a hospital.

The team said Joe Vitt would continue as head coach for the rest of the year. Vitt is the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. Vitt won his first game on Sunday, 28-17 over the New Orleans Saints.

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