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Penn State Football: Cain Taking COVID Seriously as Family Recovers

by on June 16, 2020 3:30 PM

Penn State running back Noah Cain is worried, not really about football, but about life. Because as he sits in his room tucked away in the middle of State College, his family is back home recovering from COVID-19.

His mom had it. His cousin acquired blood clots from it. Two other family members had it as well. All four live in Baton Rouge.

They’re going to be OK, but that wasn’t always so certain.

“[Cain's mother] had it for like a month, and you know, she goes back and forth to the doctor and she keeps testing positive over and over again,” Cain said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday. “Everything they say about the virus [is true]. You lose your smell. You lose your taste, throwing up vomiting and your stomach hurting. This is a real thing.

“So that's why [I think it’s] disrespectful when people don't take it seriously because it's a real thing. I've seen what it can do. Some days you don't know if you will make it honestly, because of the fact that it's hurting you. It's killing you.”

Cain says he is back in State College not so much because of football, but because it’s safer. His family wanted him out of the city, away from the virus, away from an uncertain future. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronoavirus Resource Center, Baton Rouge has nearly 4,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 not to mention equally larger numbers in the surrounding region.

Centre County has 177 cases as of Tuesday morning.

So Cain sits in his room, waiting for his own test to come back before he can finally workout with his teammates. He has been in quarantine for nearly a week now since returning to campus, limited contact with anyone, long-range contact with his teammates.

And for all the football to look forward to, the ever-present thoughts of back home, and the uncertainty of what a busy State College might bring lingers with Cain every day.

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind all the time, honestly,” Cain said of COVID-19 and the upcoming season. “Just because I’ve seen how easily my family had gotten it from just being in the same room as a person who had it. And all it takes is one.”

Cain — because he has no real choice — is optimistic that things will get better. Asked about the season and what the world might look like by August he has some positivity that life will maybe seem more normal.

But there is an uncertainty in that optimism, because in the end he doesn’t know. In the end nobody knows if the season will finish, how long it will last or even if it will happen. He’s hopeful, but there’s no evidence that he should be.

“I'm pretty sure by August there will be a medicine or at least something that helps for people to be able to be around each other. What does it look like I don't know yet.”

Will there be? Time will tell.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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