Preble’s Metzler recovering from COVID-19
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Green Bay Preble softball coach Ron Metzler is recovering at home after a recent scare with COVID-19.
Metzler said he was afraid he might die in a hospital room in early April while battling the potentially deadly virus.
“I was very sick and believed I could be dying,” he said. “From what I’ve been told, if you need a ventilator for this, you’re in trouble. I was one step away. My levels weren’t good, but thank goodness I didn’t need a ventilator. I’m feeling good now. You can still hear a nagging cough, but that’s normal.”
Metzler said his symptoms were normal with what’s been published, and he started noticing things March 20.
“It was being hot, cold and weak to the point I couldn’t sleep for more than short periods,” he said. “I had somewhat of a fever, but mine wasn’t off the charts. My background with distance running probably helped as well. My shortness of breath wasn’t off the charts, either. You hear lots of people say the fever and shortness of breath are the worse – and I had those things – but those were not too severe.”
Metzler said he called his clinic when symptoms began, but he didn’t require care at that point.
“As my symptoms got worse, I called a second time, and they told me to come in,” said Metzler, who lost about 15 pounds through the ordeal. “A few days after that, I called a third time, and they told me to come back. At that point, I was transported from the clinic right to the hospital. In short, it was nine days of symptoms and a hospital admission and just short of a week – Sunday through Saturday – in the hospital.”
Metzler said he doesn’t want to speculate how he got the virus, but his wife, Robin, and one of the couple’s adult children developed symptoms of COVID-19 but didn’t get tested and recovered in a few days.
“I’m an opinionated guy, but that part is pure speculation,” he said. “I could speculate, but that’s the only thing I don’t want to do. We chose to quarantine, and we’re glad we did. I didn’t have any pre-existing conditions and didn’t fit the age description. Hopefully, the young kids in our country only have to go through this situation once in their lifetime.”
Metzler has been the coach at Preble for a decade, winning a pair of Fox River Classic Conference Coach of the Year awards.
To lift his spirits and to show support, the Preble softball faithful surprised him outside his home with a parade of 45 cars April 7.
Metzler said he got a message saying to get out on the street in 5 minutes because there would be a surprise for him.
“There were signs, words of encouragement and horns being honked,” he said. “I got out of the hospital April 4 – most people didn’t know I was in the hospital – and a few people started to find out what had happened. We have wonderful high school softball families and a tremendous feeder program to the high school, and they got wind of it.”
Although it’s still speculation at this point, Metzler weighed in with his thoughts of the already-shortened spring sports seasons.
“Being an optimist, if we are so lucky to get the kids back in school, how could we have thousands of kids sitting in the classroom – 25 in a room – without the outlet of sports? That would be a wonderful day.”
Metzler also said it could still work, even if kids don’t go back to school.
“I can tell from the Wisconsin Softball Coaches Association and contacts through the WIAA, that they’d try to do something,” he said. “Is it delayed, shortened or is it just a tournament? Nobody is sitting around optimistic it’s going to happen, but they still haven’t killed off the season yet.”
Metzler said he was looking forward to this season.
“I’ll be blunt – this is my 10th varsity year at Preble, and we were probably more ready this year than any other year based on what we have as players and dedication level. Our kids have been crazy disappointed because they know they’re ready.”