MACON, Ga. — The coronavirus has made its presence felt all across the world, and including right here in Central Georgia, and for one coach in Macon, COVID-19 hit closer to home more than he ever imagined.
“I tested positive for corona back in March,“ says Joe Dupree. “I spent several days in the hospital alone and not knowing if I was going to live or die.“
Joe Dupree is the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Southwest High School. Back in March when Central Georgia school systems including Bibb County announced they would be closing the doors on in-school learning due to coronavirus concerns, Dupree had no idea how the pandemic would impact him and his family.
“Initially, I had pneumonia and then I got my results back and I tested positive,“ says Dupree. “I stayed in the hospital for three days, very sick and coughing. I lost my sense of taste and smell. It was a rough time for my family and I.“
Dupree is a former college D1 athlete at both the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern in the 1990s. He believes staying in pretty good shape was a factor in his fight with the virus and his recovery.
Dupree explains, “I’ve been working out every day, walking, lifting. I quarantined for 14 days and I was good. I tested negative of course after the 14 days so my recovery has been great. Nobody in my house got it. I stayed in quarantine in my house and that was a blessing in itself and we’re just trying to stay as safe as we can.”
Dupree says that “we” extends to the Southwest Patriot family, because as a leader of the red, white, and blue, safety is his utmost priority.
“It’s not only about me, but it’s about my coaches and my players remaining safe and their families,“ says Dupree. “It would be hard for me to go to one of my coaches’ wives and tell them they are sick because he’s been at practice or whatever the case may be. It’s bigger than football. Football is not their life, but just a part of their life. They need to understand that. This is real and to me it’s a life and death situation.“
Dupree and Southwest say they continue to hold team workouts virtually, because he doesn’t feel like this is the safest environment to come together right now, but he’s continuing to educate himself and explore other opportunities when that time should presents itself.
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