Bill Neeley, a popular Apopka baseball coach, remains hospitalized and in a medically induced coma after testing positive for COVID-19, according to close family friends.
Donna Leonard, a close family friend of Neeley, told News 6 the father of two was first diagnosed with COVID-19 a week and a half ago.
“Coach Neeley went into the hospital with some breathing problems and they at first diagnosed him with pneumonia and then several hours later, they said he tested positive for COVID,” she said.
A spokesperson with Orange County Public Schools confirmed that Neeley works as a custodians in the district, and coaches junior varsity baseball at Apopka High School.
Leonard told News 6 that the little league coach was first admitted to the hospital on July 26, and went into a coma on July 28.
“It all happened fast,” Leonard added. “It’s hard to imagine life in our community without Bill Neeley. It would be a huge loss. We’re all scared. We’re all praying as hard as we can just to be able to hear his voice and see him soon.”
A GoFundMe page set up to help Neeley’s family has already raised more than $18,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement to News 6, a spokesperson with Orange County Public Schools said:
“We do send our thoughts and prayers to the entire Neeley family during this difficult time.”
Prior to being hospitalized, Leonard said Neeley had worked on sanitizing and cleaning Orange County schools ahead of their reopening.
“I know with social distancing it may not be an option, but I know we could fill a baseball field with how many people in our community who are pulling and rooting for Coach Bill,” Leonard said.