Let these athletes tell you all about how much it sucked to have COVID

Let these athletes tell you all about how much it sucked to have COVID

Illustration for article titled Let these athletes tell you all about how much it sucked to have COVID

Remember when you heard that young, healthy people would have an easy time with the coronavirus? Looking back, it’s as ridiculous as comparing COVID to the flu or saying the country would open by Easter. But that’s what some thought around this time last year.

Since then, thousands of amateur and professional athletes have been infected. Fortunately, most have recovered and returned to play. But some athletes have spoken about their experience with the virus, warning others that it is not to be messed with.

Here are athletes, in their own words, detailing their experience with the worst pandemic in a century.

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Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman

Illustration for article titled Let these athletes tell you all about how much it sucked to have COVID
Photo: Getty Images

After recovering from COVID, Atlanta’s four time All-Star told reporters about his experience with the virus.

“Friday Night, that was the scariest night for me. I spiked to 104.5 fever… Two minutes after that, I gunned my forehead again, I was 103.8, I was 103.2 then 103.6. I was like, ‘If I go above 104 again, I’ll probably just start ringing the phone, try to figure this out. But I said a little prayer that night, cause I’ve never been that hot before. My body was really, really hot so I said, ‘please don’t take me.’ I wasn’t ready. It got a little worrisome that night for me.”

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Asia Durr

Asia Durr

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Photo: Getty Images

Months after opting out of the 2020 WNBA season, Asia Durr said she couldn’t pick up a basketball. “It’s really challenging for me. But I’ve talked to doctors and they’ve told me I’m not cleared yet. I’m not cleared to be able do anything physically, which could cause flare-ups,” she said. Durr, who lost 32 pounds since contracting the virus, said she experienced, “lung pain that was just so severe. It felt like somebody took a long knife and was stabbing you in your lungs each second. I woke up two o’clock in the morning vomiting, going back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t keep anything down.”

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Von Miller

Von Miller

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Photo: AP

In a Q and A with the Washington Post, the Super Bowl 50 MVP said the worst part of COVID was, “Not being able to breathe.”

“I got asthma,” he said, “but [COVID] was past the asthma attack — like my lungs were constricting. My asthma nebulizer helped, but it still didn’t feel like it was supposed to. That was the most frightening part. Just going to sleep knowing that my oxygen level could drop and I could wake up and have to go to the hospital.”

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Natalie Hakala

Natalie Hakala

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Screenshot: HBO Real Sports

A year ago, Hakala was a collegiate track athlete. She got COVID in July and told Real Sports, “I always thought if I got it, that I’d be sick for two weeks. Everyone says it’s like the flu, so like, you feel horrible for two weeks and then you’re fine.”

She wasn’t. Months after her infection, the former distance runner now uses a wheelchair to get around. “Hopefully I serve as a warning,” she said. “They focus so heavily on the deaths. But this can harm more than just two weeks or death. It seems like those are the two options: it’s either two weeks or it’s death. And I’m an inbetweener.”

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Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald

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Photo: Getty Images

The longtime Cardinals receiver lost nine pounds and rewrote his will during his battle with COVID-19. For Fitzgerald, the frightening part was just how little information there was to combat the virus.

“I think the scariest part... is nobody really can give you any answers,” Fitzgerald said. “I mean, there’s no real answer, so your mind kind of wonders and you’re sitting at home, and you’re watching TV and you see the cases and you see the deaths across the nation, and all these things are running through your mind and, obviously, you worry.”

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Andrew Boselli

Andrew Boselli

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Photo: AP

In a personal essay for seminoles.com, the former Florida State offensive lineman wrote about his battle with COVID. “I promise, even if you’re young and healthy, you do not want this virus,” the 22 year old said.

“Although I had what doctors consider to be a “mild” case of it, my experience was anything but mild.

I woke up on a Sunday morning with a low-grade fever, thinking that would be the worst of it.

By that night, my temperature was 103 degrees. It was the highest fever of my life, but I felt like I was freezing.

I was glued to the couch with no energy, no appetite and nothing but fluids and over-the-counter medicines to help me feel better.

The hardest part was feeling slightly short of breath. That’s a bad feeling anyway, and knowing that shortness of breath is often a symptom of severe cases made it that much worse.

I had never felt so not like myself.”

In the article, Boselli said his father Tony, a 48-year-old former NFL player, was admitted to the ICU.

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Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett

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Photo: Getty Images

In a press conference, the 24 year old said the virus “kicked my butt.”

“I lost my smell for almost two weeks, had the body aches, headaches. My eyes were hurting. Coughing, sneezing, fever. I was in pain. It wasn’t great.”

Weeks later, Garrett spoke about the lingering effects of COVID and said he was participating in four breathing sessions per day. “It’s bound to affect your lungs,” he said. “It is hard to make a move or do something that you know is going to expend a lot of energy, knowing that you have to do it again the next play and the next play.”

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Tsang Yee-ting

Tsang Yee-ting

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Screenshot: South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong karate athlete was training for an Olympic qualifying tournament when she contracted COVID. She wound up spending 29 days in the hospital.

“I have experienced a lot of different things,” she said a day before being discharged. “I felt unwell, my muscles felt sore, I had diarrhea, I had no sense of taste and no sense of smell. Although the symptoms may not seem very serious, they really exhausted my spirit.”

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Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

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Photo: Getty Images

The big man’s positive test shut down the NBA and helped some of us take the virus seriously. But months after becoming patient zero, Gobert still struggled regaining his sense of smell. He told french media, “the taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100%. I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year.”

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Demi Washington

Demi Washington

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Photo: AP

In an essay for The Athletic, Vanderbilt basketball player Demi Washington, 19, wrote about her relatively mild battle with COVID. But before returning to play, Vanderbilt requires every athlete to take a cardiac MRI. Her additional test, not mandated by the SEC, identified acute myocarditis. She says the screening could have saved her life.

“It’s horrifying to think that, without that MRI, I would have gone back out there and played and something could have gone wrong. I could have passed out on the court. I could have died. I saw what happened to Keyontae Johnson and it terrified me. After he collapsed, he was ultimately diagnosed with acute myocarditis — just like me. I wonder how many other athletes are playing with it right now and have no idea.”

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Keyontae Johnson

Keyontae Johnson

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Photo: AP

Over the summer, the NBA prospect contracted COVID with other Florida teammates. But in December, the junior collapsed on the court.

Despite Johnson’s acute myocarditis, his family said the incident was “not related to or a result of a previous or current Covid diagnosis.”

Two NFL players, Ryquell Armstead (23) and Tommy Sweeney (25), haven’t shared their COVID experiences publicly. But both had to end their seasons due to the virus.

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