Keeler: Why beating coronavirus was Denver South coach Wayne McDonald’s biggest win of 2020

Bigger win for Wayne McDonald: A Denver Prep League title or kicking coronavirus straight in its backside?

“I definitely know he’s excited about life and about being here,” Alphonso McDonald says with a chuckle. “But I know he thinks about his girls all the time. I would definitely say the city title. My mom might say something different. But I know how big he is about basketball.”

On Feb. 20, Wayne McDonald coached Denver South to an 8-1 league mark and a share of the Denver Prep League girls hoops crown.

A month later, he was being rushed to the ICU at Rose Medical Center with the tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19: High fever, shallow breaths, lethargy. An inability to talk or smell.

Fortunately, after shuttling from Saint Peter to Cerberus for a month, the McDonalds are riding a winning streak again. They’re supposed to find out Tuesday, and hopefully no later than Wednesday, when Wayne, 50, can leave the hospital and start up the next phase on the comeback trail in rehab.

“It all seems like a blur,” Wayne’s wife Cheryl says. “With everything going on, it’s hard to keep track of the days.”

Alphonso, Wayne’s oldest son and an assistant on the Rebels staff, has done his darnedest anyway. By his count, Tuesday will be Dad’s 60th straight day in the hospital. The South coach spent 40 of those hooked up to a ventilator.

“It’s definitely been a roller-coaster, some ups and downs,” Alphonso says. “But we’re definitely doing a lot better throughout all of this.”

It’s a heck of a lot better than April, when doctors performed a tracheotomy to reduce the need for sedation and the risk of sedation-related delirium.

The darkest night came about two weeks into his stint in the ICU, when during one of those aforementioned deliriums, Wayne accidentally removed a feeding tube, opening a wound that would become infected.

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“(Their) exact words were, ‘We almost lost him that morning,’” Cheryl recalls. “So that definitely was the lowest point. And he was definitely at a touch-and-go phase.”

The weeks since have been easier on the stomach. And the soul. Cheryl, who’d contracted the virus herself in late March and spent two weeks in home quarantine, knew her husband had COVID-19 on …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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