Texas high school football coach who tested positive for COVID-19: 'The virus is real and does not discriminate'

Courtesy of Eric Villasenor

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Eagle Pass Winn athletic coordinator and head football coach Eric Villasenor took every precaution necessary while handing out guideline and protocol packets to a drive-by of parents on June 10.

The Mavericks were scheduled to start summer workouts on June 15, so the packets also included parent authorization forms for their kids to participate.

Villasenor, 42, didn’t experience any noticeable symptoms of COVID-19 in the immediate days after, but felt like he should get tested just to be safe seeing as though he would be reconvening with his program the following week.

Despite his best efforts, the results from his test on June 13 came back positive for COVID-19.

“The virus is real and does not discriminate,” Villasenor said.

Villasenor is one of the lucky ones. Over 127,300 had died from COVID, including 2,481 in Texas, and more than 2.6 million tested positive for the disease as of July 1.

On Wednesday, Texas eclipsed 8,000 daily new cases for the first time and 57 deaths, which is the second-highest total recorded; it was the fifth day that Texas had 50 or more COVID-19 deaths. 

Villasenor tested as asymptomatic, which means he would not have developed symptoms for COVID-19. Had he not gotten tested, there’s no telling what would have happened.

He then had to be quarantined for three weeks in his home away from his wife, Celia, and 10-year old son Matthew.

Then, he had to tell his team.

“I communicated that I tested positive to my coaching staff. They then had to go get tested as well because we had a staff meeting and we had to contact-trace,” he said. “Thankfully, they all came back negative.

“I informed my staff and informed the kids. I wanted the kids to hear it from me, I didn’t want them to hear it from a second-hand source. I just felt like it needed to be communicated immediately.”

Once Eagle Pass ISD was made aware of Villaenor’s positive test result, it paused the beginning of summer workouts.

“It sent some shockwaves through the community because it hit home, it hit close to home,” he said. “I’m just thankful that none of our kids got infected or got sick, and thankful that our coaches didn’t catch it and spread it to their families; this could have spread like wildfire.”

Villasenor has since been retested and his results came back negative.

“I would tell the public that this virus has no boundaries and it does not discriminate,” he said. “There are guidelines in place for a reason and we need to follow those guidelines if we want to get through this. Right now, times are tough. Don’t only protect yourself but protect others; those others could travel home to the elderly. I just want to extend that to everybody to follow the guidelines and the rules that are in place.”

Especially if we want to experience Texas high school football in 2020.

“It comes down to responsibility,” he said. “We all want to play sports, we need it. I think every community in the state is craving it and needs it. But you turn on the TV or you log on to social media and you see everyone out and about like nothing is there. In reality, we are just creating more harm to our community and our neighbors. We want to play in the fall.

“We as coaches need to provide that hope that we are going to have a season, and not strike fear in our kids. We’re on the front lines, there to care about them and comfort them. I just hope and pray that we can play football in 2020 and do it the right way.”

 

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