FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Fredericksburg community is mourning the loss of a youth soccer coach who died of COVID-19.
Peter Armatis, 54, was a Navy veteran and father of three. He worked as a contractor but found a passion coaching youth soccer in his free time at Fredericksburg Football Club. Grover Gibson, the club’s president and executive director, said Armatis had the “X Factor.”
“We have lots of great coaches, but it’s always difficult to find that piece where you are a great person off the field,” Gibson said.
Armatis joined the football club in 2014 as a recreation coach and worked his way up to become a travel coach and serve on the club’s board. His passion started with his youngest son, Will, who played there.
“Then he continued that passion, not just focusing on his son, but coaching other kids in the club,” Gibson told 8News.
However, in early March, Armatis got very sick.
“This was all during that time where everyone was like, ‘Are we quarantining? Are we not quarantining? What’s going on?’,” Gibson told 8News.
Armatis was admitted to the hospital a couple weeks later.
“Within 12 hours, he’s on a respirator, ventilator and now he’s got to be induced in a coma so you can let your body relax,” Gibson said.
Armatis stayed in the hospital for a little over a week before he died on April 1. Test results for COVID-19 came back positive two days after his death.
Now, the community is left wondering how to grieve during these times. The club held a drive-by “support caravan” past his family’s home last week to offer comfort.
“But other than that, we tried to come up with other ways to support Peter and his family but everything touched on, ‘Hey, you’re not allowed to do that right now’,” Gibson said.
Gibson is remembering Armatis as a role model coach. “He definitely had the ‘X Factor’ of just being a good person,” he said.
Gibson is now warning everyone to be careful.
“He was an active sportsman, hunting, fishing, played adult soccer leagues. He’s coaching two travel teams every evening after he works 10, 12 hour days. This was a healthy individual with no prior history, so if anyone thinks they’re safe from this, until it hits someone close to you, you probably can’t tell them otherwise, but no one is safe,” he said.
The football club set up a scholarship in Armatis’ honor to help athletes financially.
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