UNCW Coach Karen Barefoot talks about her battle against COVID-19

“I was really scared,” the veteran head coach said.
UNCW Coach Karen Barefoot talks about her battle against COVID-19
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW Women’s Basketball Head Coach Karen Barefoot is back on the job after battling COVID-19. Barefoot said she tested positive for the virus on August 12th, after feeling weak when she showed up on campus for a team workout in Hanover Hall. She made her way to the trainer’s office and relayed her symptoms. A rapid test showed she had contracted COVID-19.

“I couldn’t see things, everything was foggy,” the fifth-year head coach said from her home. “My throat was sore. I had body aches. I was really fatigued and tired. I felt like, ‘Oh my gosh I didn’t know what was going on with my body’. I almost collapsed. I couldn’t breathe, my chest was so congested, and I thought maybe I should just go down and get some Sudafed or something. But it was worse than that. So as soon as I found out I went straight home and quarantined and literally went into the bed and rested for days.”

Barefoot, who says she rarely gets sick, told me she has no idea how she became exposed to the virus. She says she wore her mask when around the students on the university campus. The head coach says she heard from many individuals around the program as she recovered.

“It was scary,” she says. “I try to be all tough and not show it. I had so much support from my Athletic Director, everybody, players, they said ‘Don’t push it’. My trainer was a rock star, too. She just said, ‘You need to lay down and not push it’. You’ve really got to tell someone like me to do that because if not, I’m going to try to fight it and keep going. It really put me out, Jon. I was really scared.”

Barefoot says she realizes not all of the young adults around the Seahawks’ program may share her opinion regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. She believes getting the vaccine may have saved her life, and will encourage others to learn the facts about the virus and the vaccine so they can make the best decision for themselves.

“I just did my research and I knew that getting vaccinated was going to maybe help my immune system if I got it (the virus),” she says. “I never thought I would get this and I got it. For me, the message is to everybody, do your research. Make sure that you know you could save yourself, you could save somebody else. For me, I just chose to get vaccinated, and I do believe because I got that (vaccination) I didn’t end up in the hospital. It was rough. People say, ‘People who are vaccinated they may have mild cases’. Mine was pretty rough. I couldn’t even lift my head up until Sunday and I got it last Thursday. When I got my head up that’s when I smiled and said, ‘I can get a cup of coffee!”

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.