UPDATE: Tift Co football coach’s flu, COVID symptoms worsening
TIFTON, Ga. (WCTV) - One of Tift County football’s head Blue Devils has been diagnosed with both COVID-19 and the flu, and according to a spokesperson with Tift County Schools, his symptoms are worsening.
Jonathan Judy tells WCTV Head Football Coach Ashley Anders was diagnosed Wednesday morning with influenza and COVID-19.
“It’s already a serious virus, then you add another virus on top of it," he said.
According to Judy, his oxygen levels dropped and symptoms worsened Thursday morning, and Anders was admitted to Tift Regional Hospital.
“I’ve spoken with Coach Anders today [Friday], and he says he’s feeling about the same he did yesterday," Judy said. "So he’s just currently receiving oxygen treatments at the hospital.”
Judy says it has not been confirmed that Anders has pneumonia.
“He’s not in great shape," Valdosta High School head coach Rush Propst told WCTV Friday.
The two teams were set to go head-to-head Friday night, but the game was forced canceled by the South Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health due to the amount of Tift County team members testing positive for the virus.
It’s the first game in its 10 counties the district has had to call due to COVID.
According to Spokeswoman Courtney Sheeley, five people total, including coaches and players, with the Blue Devils team have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 48 hours.
Sheeley says no other hospitalizations have been reported at this time, but they are working closely with superintendent Adam Hathaway and the school’s nurse on case investigations and contact tracing.
“We completely understand people’s desire to play football, and we hate the decision had to be made to cancel the game, especially with it being Senior Night for Tift County, however, for the safety of the football players, the coaches, the staff, for Tift County and Valdosta City Schools, the decision have to be made to cancel the game," Sheeley told WCTV.
Propst says his team was “not happy” when he told players on Friday they wouldn’t play.
“You put a lot into a week’s work," Propst told WCTV. "I mean you put so much into it, and then, all of a sudden, it’s just, ‘Bam’, hits you in the face. So I would imagine it’s a forfeit win for us unless we reschedule. That’s all I can figure.”
He says rescheduling could be tricky. The two teams would need a mutual off-day. Propst says his team’s schedule is clear on October 16.
Tift County Schools says they plan to postpone Senior Night to another game this season.
“Please keep Coach Anders and his family in your prayers," the school system wrote on Facebook.
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