Corrales Adds Personal Story To #WeWantToPlay Movement
Note: Full video of Corrales' interview Wednesday morning posted below.
CHAPEL HILL - If anyone playing college football understands the risk given the COVID-19 climate the sport is dealing with, it’s Beau Corrales.
Those who say it’s too dangerous cite player safety, first and foremost. With that, they express concern for players contracting the virus and spreading it to those in high-risk groups, which includes anyone with diabetes.
Corrales is one of those people and he also happens to be a player. And, this past Sunday, the North Carolina senior wide receiver took the #WeWantToPlay movement swelling on Twitter to another level by personalizing it with his story.
“As someone with underlying conditions, I am fully aware of the risks of contracting COVID,” Corrales wrote. “However, those risks do not go away simply by dismissing a football season. Although, I respect anyone’s decisions to opt out of the 2020 season, there are still plenty of us that are healthy and taking the right precautions to make sure that a season is still plausible.”
So why did he do it?
“To be honest with you, I had seen a tweet that people were trying to use the underlying conditions as a reason for why we shouldn’t be playing, and I just wanted people to know there are people with underlying conditions that got a voice, too,” Corrales said, following Wednesday morning’s practice. “And even though I’ve lived every day with this Type 1, I still want to play and I completely understand the risks that are at hand. But I completely trust the medical staff and the stuff that we have in place.”
Corrales’ iPhone is taped to his body during games so medical staff, and even his parents, can check his glucose numbers. His parents were “super-worried” when the virus began circulating late last winter, but they have faith in UNC’s protocols. So does Beau, himself.
“I feel safer here than I am back home in Texas,” he said.
Corrales, who caught 40 passes for 575 yards and six touchdowns last season, hasn’t shied away from discussing his experiences as a Type 1 diabetic playing major college football.
Each day is a battle. From occasional trouble getting up in the morning, constantly monitoring everything he puts in his body, to the grind of being a high-level athlete, Corrales is keenly aware of what’s good for his health and what isn’t.
Perhaps that’s why his tweet Sunday was so noteworthy. He could have stuck with #WeWantToPlay and been done with it like so many of his teammates and other players around the nation. No harm in that. But he took it a step further.
“Beau has made as much progress as a person since we’ve been here as anybody else,” said UNC Coach Mack Brown, alluding to the struggles Corrales has faced managing his disease while still playing a major sport. “Last year it was really bothering him, he’d miss practice and he’d miss class, and he has got complete control right now of his diabetes. And we told them all, ‘You don’t have to play.’
“He wants to play, and you’ve got to give him credit for doing that.”
Some folks on Twitter didn’t quite see it that way, though.
The tweet generated more than 2,500 likes and nearly 600 comments. For the most part, Corrales ignored the naysayers, instead focusing on the mission behind his message.
“That’s the thing that a lot of the people outside of the football team don’t understand, and that’s why a lot of people on Twitter were quick to fire back on me,” he explained. “But I didn’t pay them any mind because they don’t understand the regiment that we’ve got going on here and the structure the team and the administration have put in place for us.
“I feel really comfortable and safe with the stuff that we’ve got going on and that even with me having underlying health conditions I feel comfortable enough to be able to play. So, I thought that was definitely something people needed to hear.”
And they did.