CARSON, Calif. – For Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, the week leading up to the Galaxy’s Aug. 14 match at New York was memorable, for both positive and negative reasons.
On the plus side, Arena was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame, adding one more accolade to an already accomplished coaching career.
Shortly after, however, he dealt with a serious and potentially debilitating bout of dengue fever that, more than one week after he donned the Hall of Fame’s ceremonial red jacket, still hampers and slows him down.
On Tuesday, Arena ran through his first training session with the Galaxy since his battle with the fever began. With the temperatures in the mid- to high-80s on a immaculately sunny day in Southern California, Arena ran his club through a shorter-than-usual training session.
While his squad was running through short-sided games, assistant coach Dave Sarachan did a bulk of the coaching while Arena stood and watched from the sideline, appearing run down and exhausted.
During the Galaxy’s trip to Puerto Rico for a CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round match, Arena was apparently bitten by an infected mosquito. Arena said he never felt any mosquito bites or anything of the nature. It hasn’t yet been confirmed but Arena said all signs point to such.
“It’s likely that. I was obviously bit by an infected mosquito,” Arena said. “The bloodwork is still days away but that’s most likely the case.”
Dengue fever is relatively uncommon in the United States. According to published reports, the state of Florida, for instance, had reported 29 cases of locally acquired dengue fever and another 67 cases of people that, like Arena, had apparently acquired it outside of the country through Monday. Those outbreaks were the first in the state since 1934, according to reports.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that typically causes high fevers, rashes and in some cases can be far more serious than that.
“It certainly wasn’t the flu – I can promise you that,” said Arena, who spent two nights in a hospital because of the fever. “You’re very ill. You have no appetite. You’re exhausted. You have fevers. The other part of it is that if it’s not caught appropriately, it impacts some of your major organs. It impacts your liver as the starting point, and that’s not ever good.”
While Arena battled through the brunt of the fever and its effects, he said he is still not quite at 100 percent.
“I’m already treated for it," he said. "That mosquito is probably dead anyway, the one that bit me. I have the medication in me for that particular...fever and a couple of others that they’ve concluded are probably the culprit. It will be like any other flu or fever at this point, that it’ll take you a couple of days to recover. It shouldn’t have any long-term effects."
Still, Arena wasn’t about to lament over his unfortunate luck.
“Those things happen,” Arena said. “I got the one mosquito that was infected in Puerto Rico. I got the one in a million.”