(NEW YORK POST) – A healthy 30-year-old high school baseball coach has died of COVID-19 in New Jersey — days after being sent home from a hospital, according to reports.
Cliffside Park teacher Ben Luderer started feeling sick a few days after his wife, fellow teacher Brandy, tested positive for the contagion on March 19, the grieving widow told BuzzFeed.
Luderer — who had no underlying health conditions — felt so bad by last Friday that he went to an unidentified hospital, where he was given medication and placed on oxygen, his widow said.
However, he was advised to return home amid fears that being admitted to the hospital would worsen his condition, according to BuzzFeed, which did not say if he had been tested.
By Sunday night, the coach — who was also a special education teacher — could only text his wife from their bedroom to say he was suffering and unable to move from the bed, Brandy told BuzzFeed.
“I went back to see what I could do. I tried as much as I could,” his wife told the site. “He was sweating through his clothes. He was scared.”
When she checked on him at 6 a.m., he was dead.
“He touched so many lives,” his wife said. “Whether it be a co-worker or an administrator or a player or a student, he always went out of his way to help people. He was a stand-up guy, a stand-up man.”
Cliffside Park athletic director David Porfido said he “cried all morning” at hearing they had lost the “irreplaceable” coach. “When I told the kids, there was nothing but silence,” he told NJ.com of the video call.
Luderer’s father, Bill, called him “a wonderful person and connected with everybody that he knew.”
“Ben is a gift that was given to us that we were happy and privileged to have had for 30 years,” he told WABC.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also paid tribute to the “young baseball coach whose love of the game pushed his players to new heights.”
“Coronavirus has taken another New Jerseyan from us far too soon. Our hearts are with his loved ones and players, both past & present,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
Luderer had been a key player in the 2008 Don Bosco Prep team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation, NJ.com said.
“It’s a shocking loss,” the team’s head coach, Greg Butler, told the site. “Even the invincible aren’t invincible.”