STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - After a week’s-long battle with COVID-19, Statesboro’s Head Football Coach, Jeff Kaiser, has made his return to the sidelines.
Kaiser said he received a positive test on September 1. Eight days later, he was hospitalized at Memorial Health in Savannah, staying there for 12 days.
It’s the same hospital one of his freshman players, Key Parrish spent 11 days in pediatric ICU with COVID complications around the same time.
Friday marks two weeks Kaiser has been back with the team.
“Trying to get back to some sense of normalcy- don’t know that I need to be for a health standpoint, but from a sanity standpoint I need to, so just glad to be back and see the kids," Kaiser said. "I’ve just got to be careful and not take for granted things I took for granted before.”
He says that has been his biggest message to the team throughout this: don’t take a day for granted.
COVID left Kaiser with both heart and liver issues. He said at one point his condition was “very, very serious".
“I never really got scared until I got out and had a chance to reflect on what had happened," he explained. "It’s like we tell our kids from a football perspective, ‘focus on what you can control’ and it’s a helpless feeling when you’re laying there and can’t control any of it.”
He added a harrowing message for those who may be letting their guard down.
“There’s a lot of people out there who don’t think this thing is real, but when you’re counting your days, it’s pretty real.”
Kaiser said his team has played some games down as many as 20 players due to quarantine. As they try to pick up a region win Friday night, he says he’s proud of their adversity.
Friday night Statesboro heads down to Brunswick to face the Pirates. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.