New Boyle football coach’s wife, a physician, offers unique take on COVID-19

Published 9:09 am Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Melissa Haddix has a lot of ways of looking at the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted almost everything in our country the last four months and may for many more months to come.

One, she’s a doctor and emergency medicine specialist. Two, she is the mom of three children ranging in age from 3 to 9. Third, her husband is new Boyle County High School football coach Justin Haddix.

So what does she think about COVID-19?

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“From a medical perspective, there is so much still not known,” she said. “From a mom’s perspective, you don’t want kids or anyone to get sick, but we cannot stop living. Me personally, I think we should get back to living life. High school football should return.

“If you want to protect the public, wear masks. Truth is we are all probably going to get it. Healthy people will have mild symptoms and move on. Older people who already have some problems are the ones we will continue to see get really sick.”

Dr. Haddix says one problem is that no one shows symptoms exactly the same way. She remembers seeing patients she was sure had COVID-19 who did not. Then recently a 22-year-old nurse with no health problems felt tired. She was tested because she worked in the emergency room, tested positive and two days later had to be hospitalized.

Dr. Haddix went to the dentist and had to go through standard cautionary checks, from taking her temperature to being asked if she had traveled recently. She was also asked if she had been exposed to anyone with COVID — and responded she worked in the ER and had admitted two patients with COVID the night before but was wearing all the required personal protection equipment.

“Everybody asks about if you have traveled to where there are high (COVID) numbers, but COVID is everywhere,” she said.

Her optimistic personality has her believing there will be a COVID vaccine by January.

What about playing high school football this year?

“I kind of try to separate being a physician and a coach’s wife. Sometimes they cross paths and my husband thinks I am always negative,” she laughed and said.

She printed out Center for Disease Control recommended guidelines for the return to play just so her husband could read them.

“I also told him before that some of these kids who live with grandparents or who have been on vacation, you have to take this seriously. You can’t make them come to practice until you are sure they are OK. What if they infect the whole team?” she said.

She knows as a coach’s wife, parent and doctor that her perspective about sports might be a bit different from some. Yet she believes washing hands, practicing safety precautions, and staying home if you are sick can lead to the return of sports.

Haddix does think asking students, especially elementary age, to wear masks to have in-person school will have a hard time working when adults complain about having to wear masks already.

“Before school, take temperatures. If a student has a fever, do not let him or her through the front door,” she said. “I really feel like we should go back to school after Labor Day. From a parent standpoint, if you expect me to home school that is a terrible idea. The past year was not effective. Online learning does not work for all kids.

“But we do have to find ways to get back to living. Kids want to go to school. Kids want to play sports. We just have to make sure we do it safely, and I believe we can.”