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As Fall Sports Reopen, Coaches Succumb to COVID-19

Paul Steinbach

With the widely welcomed return to high school and college sports this fall come reminders that a global pandemic is still very much alive in the United States.

Pennsylvania’s Northampton Area School District announced last Wednesday that social studies teacher and Southern Lehigh High School football coach Mike Gurdineer had died after battling COVID. “Our hearts break for Coach Gurdineer and his family today as we offer our condolences to all who have crossed paths with Mike,” athletic director Shaun Murray said in a statement, as reported by Daily Beast, which also pointed out that 24-year-old Ryan Dupree, an assistant basketball coach at Shorter University, had died on Monday two days after receiving a positive test.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Arlington Sam Houston boys' soccer coach Joey Rodriguez is currently in the ICU on life support battling COVID-19. Rodriguez tested positive for COVID and was rushed to the emergency room Aug. 29.

Before COVID, Rodriguez had been diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, an immune system disorder that causes a person to have low levels of the proteins that help fight infections.

Rodriguez is president of the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Organization.

“Joey is one of the best soccer coaches I’ve ever worked with. A true gentleman and family man who serves as a great role model for the young men he coaches,” tweeted Burleson athletic director Kevin Ozee, who previously held the same position with Arlington ISD.

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