Anybody who saw Bonita High School football coach Eric Podley in the weeks leading up to his team’s runner-up effort in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs knows the veteran football coach just wasn’t right.
Podley, suffering from what he thought was a bad disc in his back that needed surgery, was forced to use a walker to get around and lose a good amount of weight due to the back pain and medication to help control it.
Turns out, Podley had something even more serious than a bad disc. Just prior to having surgery, Podley’s doctor had a hunch he might be suffering from an infection in his back. Subsequent tests proved the doctor and Podley was hospitalized for six days to receive treatment.
“Once they figured out it was a staph infection, they started loading me up on the antiotics,” Podley said. “I had the test done on a Monday and I was in the hospital on Tuesday for the next six days.”
Podley avoided surgery, but remains on antibiotics while he recuperates at home. The good news is he’s seen a significant reduction in pain and has even gained some weight back.
“I’m pretty much off all of the pain meds and muscle relaxants. Going from having to use morphine to nothing is a good day.”
All totaled, Podley will miss six weeks of work and is aiming to be back at Bonita in late January.
Bonita had its best season in years, going 12-2 and reaching the Southeast Division championship on Dec. 12. Despite the pain, Podley stuck it out until the end.
“There were days I was missing school so I could make practice,” Podley said. “There were a couple weekends where I had to go home because I was in pain. When you’re having a good year, I kind of felt an obligation to finish it out. I just needed to end about 30 seconds shorter than it did.”