As schools throughout Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are about to open up “optional” summer workouts for student athletes, one local coach is a warning that we must be careful when dealing with COVID-19. He is living proof that this virus is not just a threat for the elderly and those with previous health conditions.
In all regards, Olympic Heights Baseball coach Casey Beck is a strong, healthy 41 year old man. That was until Casey started to feel sick around lunchtime on Thursday, June 11th. Within 36 hours coach Beck was in the ICU/Covid-Unit fighting the fight of, if not for, his life.
Instinctually Beck, someone that doesn’t “just get sick”, thought he could just battle whatever “bug” he was battling. By Friday Beck “couldn’t keep anything down” and was laying on his shower floor for 8 hours letting lukewarm water run on him “praying the pain would ease up”. Beck described his body temperature fluctuating from “burning up to freezing to death” almost instantly. Thankfully, his wife Jannine forced Beck to go to the ER. He didn’t know it yet, but “his whole body was shutting down”. If not for Jannine’s persistence, Beck believes he “might have [expletive] died”.
Before getting sick Casey Beck was already fearful of COVID-19, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and following other CDC guidelines. Even as things have opened up he always stayed in gatherings of “no more than eight people”. Even while sitting in the ICU at the moment Beck still “has no clue where he caught the virus” and that is what scares him the most and is the motivating factor for him to share his story. “I pray you and your loved ones never feel like I have these past few days”, Beck interjects in the middle of our talk. It won’t be the last time he tells me this.
The unknown seems to be the scariest part for Casey Beck. Anyone that knows coaches, knows they like to plan things ahead of time and LOVE to be in control. This hasn’t been anything of the sort. While profusely praising the doctors, nurses and hospital staff Beck feels there is a sense of uncertainty. Often treatments are reactionary and comfort treatment based. Beck is being treated intravenously for “super dehydration” and is being “pumped full of saline and morphine” for issues with his kidneys. Beck describes his body as feeling like “The Walking Dead” and also said the hospital feels like a zombie apocalypse at times as there is a huge sense of loneliness that overwhelms in the COVID unit. Beck just stares into what feels like an empty hospital unit sometimes not seeing a person walk by for 5 hours at a time.
Couldn’t help but ask Casey why he wanted to share all this personal information and he replied he just wants people to understand how real of a threat COVID-19 is to everyone. “Be straight up. Let me be a poster boy for this [expletive]. People think it is never going to happen to them. Well here I am.” Beck says.
This brings us back to schools opening up for summer workouts, which was something Beck thought it was “going to be OK, especially with baseball”. Summer League baseball teams were already back working out, and Beck felt pressure to get back out there working out at parks that have been opened up by Governor DeSantis. Beck followed all protocols called and go the clearance to get back out on the field with his summer league team. Following social distancing guidelines, staying under the ten person rule and being out in the hot sun didn’t help keep Casey Beck out of the ICU/COVID-19 Unit.
“This was summer league travel baseball and you’re talking to open up school sports. I know longer think we are at the point to do that right now anymore. Especially, sports like football, basketball, soccer and wrestling. There is no way we should be getting into that anytime whatsoever“ lamented Beck.
Beck understands that he will receive pushback for speaking out against opening up but he can’t just be quiet. “I needed to share my story. I just hope and pray that anyone reading this never has to go through this experience. Stay safe”.
We will try, coach. GET WELL SOON!