Haleigh Callison was diagnosed in November but is still having troubles, admitting, “when the waves of fatigue and fogginess come, it completely takes me out.”

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Haleigh Callison spent 14 years working as a strength and conditioning coach with Twist Performance, and in that time they had various Vancouver Canuck clients.

She understands players’ abilities better than most of us.

Callison, 36, contracted COVID-19 in late November. She knows what it’s capable of as well.

“It’s terrifying to think about what’s happening to them,” she said Monday when asked about the pandemic hitting the Canucks. “My heart goes out to the players and the families.

“This isn’t an easy thing to deal with. It’s not a fun thing to talk about. I feel like I’m one of the few who have spoken about it.”

All these months later, she’s still dealing with side-effects, admitting that “when the waves of fatigue and fogginess come, it completely takes me out. The times between are definitely getting a lot better, but I have to be extra cautious still. I have to know my bandwidth that day.”


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Callison is a former University of B.C. hockey player. She played with the Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She’s working now as a cedar specialist in lumber sales for Olympic Industries. She’s still “usually playing every sport you can imagine.”

She says that there are random days where she has to lie down and nap. She says there are days she gets exhausted as a result of having three or four Zoom meetings.

“I’m lucky my employer has been phenomenal. I’m lucky that they are so supportive of their people,” Callison said. “I know everyone does not have that.

“The fogginess is especially difficult. When your mind isn’t clear and, you know it’s not clear, it’s terribly frustrating. I’m usually a very detailed person and I find myself at work having to check things forwards-and-backwards and then double-check them again.”

Callison is a part of a post-COVID-19 study and she says that she’s learned through that that “everyone’s story is so different.”

She’s unsure of how this might play for the Canucks. She considers herself “fortunate” for having gotten a look behind-the-scenes at “how hard they worked and how hard they pushed their bodies.”

“It will hit some people like they had a cold. And some other people will get hit more aggressively,” she said of the Canucks. “We may never hear how some of the players are really affected. They’re elite athletes. They’re going to want to play. They’re going to be excited about getting back on the ice.


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“They’re going to do everything they can do to mask it. Adrenalin may get some guys through initially. You just don’t know.”

Callison says doctors are suggesting to her that she “test-out” her own limits.

“You push yourself and see how you feel. If you feel OK, you can try to push yourself a little bit more the next time,” she said.“I’m trying to be patient and optimistic. I’d be playing sports right now it they were going on, but they’re not happening, so it’s not like I’m missing out on that. If they were happening, I don’t know how I could do it.”

There are some amateur sports underway. The B.C. Hockey League is one of them. The Junior A loop’s 16 active teams started up their 20-game regular seasons in five pods around the province over the weekend.

Penticton Vees coach Fred Harbinson says the Canucks’ situation hasn’t been a talking point with this players, explaining Monday, “we were given our parameters and our marching orders regarding safety ages ago, and this doesn’t really change anything in regards to that.”

“It might open some eyes about how quickly things can happen. But we understand that if something like that happens it’s over for us. Our season will be shut down.”

Vancouver Giants coach Michael Dyck said similar things Monday. The Giants and the four other teams in the WHL’s B.C. Division are playing in hubs in Kelowna and Kamloops. Teams are playing 24-game seasons.

“We’re very aware of what happened,” Dyck said of the Canucks. “We were already aware of how fragile this (season) is. When you’re around each other a lot, like a hockey team is, this virus can spread quickly. It’s highly contagious and once it gets out it’s going to be difficult to contain.


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“We wear masks, we wash our hands, we physically distance. You do everything you can.”

The Kelowna Rockets are in the midst of a two-week shutdown from team activities in the hubs after four players and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

The Giants and the Prince George Cougars are staying at a hotel in Kamloops. The Victoria Royals are staying at a hotel in Kelowna. The Rockets and the Kamloops Blazers remain at the billet family homes.

Twelve of the BCHL’s 16 teams are staying at billet homes. The WHL and the BCHL are both paying for additional virus testing.




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