PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As Pennsylvania high schools gear up for the fall sports season, one local football star is hanging up the pads for now.
Defensive tackle and Pitt commit Elliot Donald is foregoing his senior season at Central Catholic High School to avoid the increased risk of bringing coronavirus home to his family.
“I work out in the same weight room in my granddad’s basement that he works out in,” Donald said. “I can’t give it to my grandma.”
With a handful of local football teams already on hold because of coronavirus cases, Donald said the uncertainty that a full season will actually be played was a factor in his decision.
“On top of risking injury just to play two, three games, I didn’t think it was worth it,” he said.
He says the decision wasn’t easy, especially after the Vikings won a 6A WPIAL title last season. Once he made up his mind, conversations with teammates followed.
“I don’t want them to feel like I let them down or anything,” Donald said. “We were looking forward to the season, getting another ring and everything.”
Donald says he’s confident in his decision, but it does feel strange not to play football in September.
“The other day, I was thinking, man, I was supposed to scrimmage Penn Hills on Friday, and I was feeling a little down about it,” he said.
Until he moves onto Pitt’s campus next summer, Donald will workout five to six times a week. He also plans to dive into Pitt’s playbook early with aspirations of seeing the field during his first year.
“After the season, I’m going to get with (Pitt defensive line coach Charlie Partridge) and start trying to learn the defense so I can hop in my freshman year,” Donald said.
Along with raising concerns about a shortened season, Donald has advocated for the PIAA to move fall sports to the spring. He believes it could provide a better opportunity for a full season without interruptions.
Donald is the nephew of former Pitt and Penn Hills player and NFL star Aaron Donald.