Brock Olivo: Italy's Coronavirus Struggle 'Surreal'

"You never imagine in your wildest dreams anything like this happening," he says.

Mully & Haugh Show
April 01, 2020 - 11:07 am

(670 The Score) Former NFL player and assistant coach Brock Olivo landed in Italy earlier this year to join his daughter, son and girlfriend and begin a new coaching opportunity.

Fresh off two years on the Bears' coaching staff, Olivo was looking forward to his chance to be with family and lead as head coach of the Lazio Ducks. But life for Olivo and so much of Italy is on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country and around the world.

Italy has endured more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus and suffered more than 12,000 deaths due to the disease, forcing the entire country into a strict lockdown. Italy has extended its lockdown through April 13, and there's hope the measures are working, according to reports.

Olivo feels fortunate to be in good health but has been struck by how different the country is these days.

"We're so used to being on the move and especially in the western world, we're so used to enjoying everyday freedoms and liberties," Olivo said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday. "We can go as we please and move about. There's no limitations. Now, you find yourself in this surreal, small, closed world. You can leave the house once a week only to go grocery shop or to pharmacies or an emergency, God forbid. That's it.

"When you leave the house, you can't socialize with anybody. You have to wear a mask, gloves. There's sort of this underlying paranoia within everybody. You can feel it. It's very un-Western-like. It's very un-Italian-like as well. 

"I just keep coming back to the world 'surreal.' You never imagine in your wildest dreams, anything like this happening."

The 43-year-old Olivo spent five years in the NFL from 1998-2002 before entering the coaching ranks. He wasn't retained as Bears assistant special teams coach after serving in that position in 2018 and 2019 in Chicago.

Olivo's next opportunity is as head coach of the Lazio Ducks, but that's on hold. In the meantime, he's trying to make the best of these difficult days. Olivo is trying to keep a daily routine that includes structured meals, workouts and playing his guitar.

"You just have to accept the fact, dig your heels in and say, 'OK, this is how it is,'" Olivo said. "I'm not going to sit here and be depressed. My goal is to come out of this quarantine obviously healthy but a richer person culturally. 

"I'm taking advantage of time that I never, ever had."