High school football coach, age 34, dies of COVID

A father of four, the Olathe coach expressed doubts about the vaccine but told his parents he would consult his physician. He never got the chance.

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Sports

September 14, 2021 - 8:02 PM

A view of Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Moderna manufactures a COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/TNS)

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The father of a football coach at a suburban Kansas City high school said he hopes his unvaccinated son’s death from COVID-19 will convince people that the disease “is real.”

KMBC-TV reports that Chris Burnett, who coached football for Olathe East High School and an all-female team called the Kansas City Glory, died Saturday after two weeks in the hospital, said his parents, Kim and Carolyn Burnett. He was 34 and studying to be a physical education teacher.

His parents said they talked to him about getting vaccinated.

“You know he’s young. He was like ‘I’m going to wait and see. I’m not sure,’” said his mother.

His parents said he eventually told them he would talk to his physician about the vaccine but never got the chance.

“We just hope that opens up people’s eyes that COVID is real. It doesn’t care how old you are. It’s not an old people thing; it’s a people thing,” his father said.

In addition to coaching at Olathe East High School, Burnett has two daughters who currently attend the school and one who recently graduated. His 12-year-old son attends a nearby middle school.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the Burnett family during this tough time,” Olathe Public Schools said in a statement.

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