One and 100: Max Mitchell, college football player
This story is part of the special project "One and 100: One pandemic uprooted our lives. One hundred stories tell its impact on the South."
It was a long two weeks.
Max Mitchell, starting offensive tackle at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, didn’t have an active COVID-19 case when he was forced to isolate for 14 days during the heart of the 2020 college football season.
“I was really mad initially, because they pulled me off the practice field to tell me I’d been contact traced,” Mitchell said. “So those first couple days, I was pretty angry.”
Though symptom-free, Mitchell couldn’t practice, couldn’t lift weights, couldn’t attend class.
“I was just sitting at home, doing nothing,” he said. “I was like, ‘This stinks.’ ”
Frustration set in.
Bored, the 22-year-old became consumed by his thoughts, Xbox and phone.
Ill-prepared, and not in tip-top shape, Mitchell’s first game back – against Coastal Carolina, UL’s only loss last season – was Oct. 14, 2020.
Exactly one year later, the NFL prospect still can’t shake the experience.
The sense of helplessness, over not being able to help.
His perspective on football, life, seems changed. Mitchell can’t pinpoint how, precisely. But, locked in a room, he learned this: “It’s not something I really want to do again.”
One and 100: Click above to read more stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the South.