The longtime soccer coach at Arlington ISD's Sam Houston High School is in the hospital fighting for his life after he contracted COVID-19, his family says.
Soccer has been Joey Rodriguez’s passion since he was a young boy.
Several years ago, the father of three was diagnosed with an immune disorder that turned simple colds into pneumonia.
So when he tested positive for COVID-19, even though he had been vaccinated, his wife knew it could be serious.
"We're still in a public school setting,” Lena Rodriguez said. “I'm a public school teacher. Our kids are in school. There are no mandates are in place. So we kind of almost felt like it was a matter of time because this new variant is so strong."
Rodriguez is now on to a ventilator at Mansfield Methodist Medical Center.
His wife is the only one allowed to visit him.
"The first couple of times it was really difficult,” Lena Rodriguez said. “To actually see firsthand how ugly this virus and this illness can be to somebody that you love with everything in you, that is part of you, the father of your children."
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His entire family is pulling together but not ignoring the reality.
His daughter Mila is 10 years old.
"If he does pass, it's God's plan because that means He has a different plan for us,” Mila Rodriguez said.
But nobody is giving up.
His wife is planning a party and a parade for when he walks out of the hospital.
She also heard his soccer team was feeling down and went to cheer them up.
"So I went in to talk to them today and told them to keep their heads up and that the best thing they can do right now is practice hard, study hard, be kind, do everything they can,” Lena Rodriguez said.
Everything they can, to get ready for the day for when their coach returns, she said.
"It's not over yet,” she said. “My husband is a fighter. He's never given up on anything."
She said the soccer team gave him a jersey which all of them signed. She hung it in his hospital room.