Pitt coach Jeff Capel said his COVID-19 battle nearly hospitalized him: 'It was a b--ch'

Ryan Young
·2 min read
Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel
Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel rejoined the team on Monday after his COVID-19 battle. (AP/Keith Srakocic)

Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel rejoined his team on Monday after battling COVID-19, an experience that he said nearly landed him in the hospital.

Capel — who has been extremely critical about the season moving forward at all amid the pandemic — revealed last week that he had attested positive for the coronavirus himself.

“It was a bitch. To be honest with you, it was tough,” Capel said, via Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I had symptoms, and it was difficult. It was difficult dealing with the symptoms, the isolation was hard. I understand a little bit better now or have a little bit better of an understanding of why solitary confinement is a form of punishment.”

Capel is just the latest prominent coach to contract the coronavirus so far this season. The Panthers were supposed to take on No. 20 Duke on Tuesday, but that game was postponed on Monday night after another person within the Pittsburgh program tested positive.

Though the symptoms weren’t fun, and he nearly had to go to the hospital, it was the isolation that really got to Capel.

“I understand why Tom Hanks painted a volleyball and turned it into Wilson and why he lost his mind when Wilson went away,” Capel said, via Pittsburgh Sports Now. “It’s difficult. The isolation is difficult. The sickness and the different symptoms and things like that. I’m very fortunate that I didn’t have it as bad as some people have. I didn’t have to be hospitalized. I was close, but I didn’t have to do that, so I’m grateful for that. But, it’s a bitch.”

Capel still hesitant to even play

Capel, along with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, was hesitant earlier this month to even be playing basketball amid massive coronavirus surges across the country.

Not only are the athletes not getting paid, he said, but Capel noticed that both case and death numbers are so much higher than they were when the NCAA tournament was canceled in March.

“These kids are away [from their families] and they’re out and they’re laying it on the line to entertain people,” he said. “Something just doesn’t feel right about it now.”

Naturally, after battling the virus firsthand, Capel’s feelings on playing haven’t changed.

“I just think that when you look around, what’s going on in this country with this virus, with this disease, and you see the impact that its having on people, that it’s having on families, that it’s having on our country, and you listen to people talk about don’t travel, and don’t do these things, and things like that, [playing] just doesn’t feel right,” Capel said, via Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Especially at our level.”

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