Penn State coach James Franklin and his family have been quarantining themselves from the rest of society since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in full force back in March. Now, Franklin will find himself isolated away from his family when the college football season starts.
During an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on Tuesday night, Franklin said that while he’s in Pennsylvania coaching his Nittany Lions team, his wife, Fumi, and their two young daughters, Shola and Addison, will remain at the family’s vacation home in Florida.
“There was a lot of tears, a lot of emotion having this conversation,” Franklin said on the show. “So a lot of heartache over it.”
Franklin detailed his family’s situation earlier this spring, saying they’d been on “lockdown” the entire time. Franklin’s daughter, Addison, suffers from sickle cell disease, a condition which compromises a person’s immune system. While data suggests that COVID-19 has a very low mortality rate among children, it has a higher rate among people with compromised immune systems.
So, it’s hardly difficult to figure out why the Franklin family refuses to take any chances.
Penn State players were allowed to voluntarily return to school for workouts starting on June 15, though Franklin also said that “a number of players” chose not to return to school. Penn State’s season is scheduled to begin at home on Sept. 5 against Akron.