CHESTER, Va. (WWBT)- If high school sports get back up and running in the fall, 2020 is shaping up to be a football season unlike we've seen before. Players, coaches and fans still don't know exactly what the game will look like. But as Thomas Dale head coach Kevin Tucker was doing his best to prepare for that unknown, he and his family had to tackle another opponent.
"About three days after [my wife] got her positive test, I started feeling that tickle in my throat and I said 'here it comes' and sure enough, I got a positive result as well," Tucker recalled.
Tucker, his wife and two of his three children came down with coronavirus. Their symptoms varied and were minor for the most part. Tucker said that his three-year-old son exhibited the most serious of the family’s symptoms, suffering from body aches and a fever. The family quarantined for 32 days.
"We were wearing masks in the house, we were separating as best we could," the head coach said. "When you have three little ones, you gotta make dinner, you gotta make breakfast, you gotta make lunch, so it was hard to stay completely away from them."
Once everybody in the house fully recovered, Tucker could turn some of his attention back to football. Part of that was informing some of his fellow coaches from across the area of his experience. His message- proceed with caution.
"I think it opened up some eyes to a lot of the other coaches who were really pushing hard to get back out there right away," he noted. "I said 'look, I'm all for being back out here. I wish we could start tomorrow, but at the same time I want to do so so we don't spread it.'"
The head Knight believes Chesterfield County school teams will be able to begin conditioning workouts around July 6. At first, no equipment will be used, but no matter what stage Thomas Dale finds itself in, Tucker says preventing COVID-19 will be taught right along with the regular fundamentals.
"When we put them in helmets and shoulder pads come the fall, we teach them the proper way to tackle. We're going to do the same thing with the coronavirus. That's one of the things that the new association is working towards is making sure these kinds are being taught everything possible that we can keep them from hopefully catching this virus."
Tucker seems to have a good grasp on what coming back too soon could mean, and he'd like to avoid having to shut things down during the season, even if it means progressing a little bit slower with smaller steps.
“Let’s get out there, and when we start, we get to finish. We don’t start and then have to stop and then start again. That’s my whole ultimate goal.”
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