Coronavirus

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Olympic Soccer Star Sydney Leroux Opens Up About Her Kids’ Scary COVID Battle

“For the longest time, we’ve heard that children aren’t badly affected by COVID and, maybe, for the most part, that is the case,” she explained. “For us - it wasn’t.”

Orlando Pride forward and Olympic gold medalist Sydney Leroux detailed her children’s battle with COVID-19 in a recent Instagram post. While research has shown that many children experience only mild illness from the virus, Leroux has said that wasn’t her family’s experience. The soccer star urged people to take the pandemic seriously and continue following public health precautions like social distancing and wearing a face covering.

“For the longest time, we’ve heard that children aren’t badly affected by COVID and, maybe, for the most part, that is the case,” Leroux wrote in an Instagram post shared late Monday. “For us — it wasn’t.”

The 30-year-old soccer star has two children — 4-year-old Cassius and 21-month-old Roux — with her husband, fellow professional soccer player Dom Dwyer. On Monday, Leroux revealed she’d recently experienced every parents’ worse nightmare: waking up to the cries of your severely ill child.

“A few weeks ago I woke up to my son screaming in the middle of the night,” she explained. “When I felt his body it was like Cassius was burning from the inside out. The next morning he tested positive for COVID.”

According to Leroux, it wasn’t long before the virus had spread and infected her daughter as well. “Three days later it hit my daughter Roux,” she wrote, noting the toddler experienced a “fever, vomiting, exhaustion, and an awful cough.”

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that, “most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all,” the agency has also cautioned that “some children” can experience severe illness from the virus, potentially requiring hospitalization or even a ventilator.

Researchers still aren’t completely sure why children tend to be less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults. However, studies have shown that infants under the age of 1 and children with underlying conditions have a higher chance of a higher risk of serious illness. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic has noted that research also shows disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 in Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black children compared to non-Hispanic white children.

Thankfully, both of Leroux’s children have beaten COVID-19. “It has been an extremely hard couple of weeks, but thankfully things are much better now,” Leroux shared Monday. “I am extremely grateful that both my kids are back to good health and lucky that, somehow, I managed to stay healthy throughout.”

Leroux urged her followers to continue following COVID-19 health and safety precautions as vaccines continue to roll out across the country. “I wanted to share this story to urge everyone to continue taking this virus seriously when it comes to both you AND your children,” she wrote. “Please keep wearing your mask, stay socially distanced, and get a vaccine if/when you can so we can beat this virus together.”

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.