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Arrowhead football coach back on the field after long, severe battle with Covid-19

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 19:32:29-04

As high school sports emerged from 2020, the pandemic still had a piece of Arrowhead Football.

"It just wasn't the same without him. It didn't feel right at all during the season," says Arrowhead senior Jacob Woida.

After contracting Covid-19 at the beginning of the 2021 season, everyone expected Coach Cam's hospital stay to be brief.

"It was a little bit scary, but we were able to get there, lay down. I responded well to oxygen and it was kinda like, 'hey, I'll probably be out of here in a couple of days,'" says Cam Gonring, Arrowhead Football Assistant Coach who battled Covid in and out of a coma.

Unfortunately, a quick stay is not what happened.

RELATED COVERAGE: Arrowhead Union High football coach battling severe COVID-19

"Just to hear like wait a second it was just September 12 and now it's December and I'm in the ICU," says Gonring.

While falling in and out of consciousness over his 138-day stay, when Gonring was alert, he fought.

"I think there was one time, I remember, I finally sat up on the side of the bed in ICU. I was held up by three people. I couldn't move on my own and my heart rate was crazy high and my oxygen was not good, and I was like there is no way I can do this. But that was like three or five seconds where I'm like I don't think I can do this, then it was like, no, things could always be worse," says Gonring.

If Gonring's life was a football game, at the point he returned home, Team Cam would have been down by 20. Meaning, that a comeback was more than possible for this Wisconsinite.

"My brother is pretty stubborn, maybe that's why he's still here. He went for a drive with my parents one day and texted me, 'hey look I got some pictures I'm back out on the field,'" says Brendan Gonring, Cam's brother and fellow strength and conditioning coach at Arrowhead.

"His personality never changed. You're in the weight room and you get a drink of water, but it's really just a reason to go talk to Cam," says Jacob.

"That's where I want to be. That's what the passion is, getting back to coaching. I posted on Monday when I got back, this was the driving force to me getting better," says Gonring.

Playing all four quarters, Coach Cam is closing in on a victory.

"In the course of a couple of months, he would come here to visit and was barely able to get up here in the second-floor weight room even with a wheelchair lift and getting through the school. Now he's able to go up and down and today was actually the first day he didn't take his oxygenator to workouts," says Brendan.

All this while his athletes take note of what a real Warhawk looks like.

"If you told me that we would have him back for senior year last season, I wouldn't have believed you. So to have him back is amazing and it's just another reason to be the best that I can and show him what I've made of," says Jacob.

"I get to see myself improve every day and I'm now thinking about, hey that first practice is coming up, that first game is coming up. I don't know if I'm going to be on the sideline or if I'm going to be in the booth, but wherever it is and whatever I'm at, it's going to be incredible," says Gonring.

Incredible for Coach Cam, his family, Arrowhead football, and the healthcare workers that never left the sidelines.

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