17-Year-Old Atlanta Area High School Football Player Loses Both Parents To Covid-19

Written by Ann Brown
Seventeen-year-old Atlanta high school senior Justin Hunter lost both of his parents to the coronavirus just days apart. Image: GoFundMe

An Atlanta area high school senior and football player has suffered a double tragedy. Justin Hunter, 17, lost both of his parents to covid-19 just days apart from each other. Now his community is rallying around him, WSBTV reported.

“We were a regular family just trying to stay safe during this pandemic,” Hunter said. 

Hunter said he and his parents, Angie and Eugene, took all the proper precautions to try and protect themselves from the coronavirus. 

“For example, my mom. When she would go to the store she would be wearing a mask. She would be wearing gloves,” Justin told Wavy

Yet about two weeks ago, all three became infected with covid-19. 

“I don’t really know how our family got the virus,” said Justin, who was asymptomatic.

At first, he said they quarantined at home separately, but then his parents got worse. They started showing serious symptoms and were rushed to the hospital.

“Their temperature skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They just felt very lazy,” Hunter said. 

His father, an accomplished musician, died on July 26. He was 59. His mother, a human resources executive, died four days later.  She was 57. They were married for 35 years, having met in college.

“The last thing he said was ‘I love you, and I’m going to get better, and I’m going to keep fighting,’” Justin said. “They never raised me to just sit around and feel sorry for myself in any situation.”

“Their relationship was true love for sure,” he added. “They had very big hearts, and they would give without even thinking about getting back.”

Hunter is a rising senior at Johns Creek High School and a linebacker on the football team. He told WSBTV he plans on dedicating his senior season to his parents.

Hunter said his parents always supported his football dreams.

“Since I started playing, we always talked about me playing in college and then playing in the pros,” Hunter said. “They would have wanted me to keep going and get a scholarship and my schoolwork done.”

Georgia remains a hot spot for covid-19. According to Aug. 2 data from Atlanta Magazine, 193,117 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. Of those, 3,840 people have died and 3,095 people are currently hospitalized.

Throughout the U.S., Black people have contracted and died from covid-19 at disproportionately high rates.

Hunter said he plans to live with relatives. He had a message to people about wearing a mask.

“If you don’t wear it for yourself, then wear it for the next person,” Hunter said. ” Because you could be saving that person’s life.”

Hunter’s story has touched many. He recently tweeted his thanks for the outpouring of support. “Thank you all for your support. It means the world to me. I won’t be responding to text or calls at this time, but I will get back to all of you soon. Love you all”

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Lila Campbell (@dcampbellpbellLila) tweeted in response, “Amen….What a fine boy they raised and you will make them proud. Heartbroken for you.”

BBOOP (@BBOOP856) tweeted, “Justin, you may not remember me, but I was Coach Conner’s and Coach Morris’s PE assistant at Wilson Creek (Ms. Gilbert). I remember you were such a terrific kid and I can see that you have grown into a fine young man. My heart and sympathies are with you.”

A GoFundMe campaign, organized by Frank DuCille, has been set up to help the teen. So far it has raised $260,787.