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Tony Boselli, a three-time All-Pro offensive lineman, recently discussed the severity of coronavirus after he spent five days in a Florida hospital and lost 20 pounds following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
The former Jacksonville Jaguars player said he was taken into the Mayo Clinic’s intensive care unit in Jacksonville, where he was given IV’s and oxygen to restore his breathing.
He was admitted on March 25 before being discharged on Tuesday. He said he still feels weak but tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, ESPN reported. He is waiting for an additional test to confirm the results.
“It was kind of fuzzy, but I remember [the pulmonologist] saying, ‘If we don’t get your oxygen stabilized we’re going to have to go to the next level,” Boselli said. “I remember laying there thinking, ‘What do you mean, if this doesn’t work?’ He says, ‘We don’t know what direction this is going to go.'”
Boselli, 47, added the only people who could see him were health care workers dressed in full protective equipment.
“I don’t know if I ever was like I thought I was going to die, but I remember having the conversation with myself: I don’t want to die here,” Boselli said.
The five-time Pro Bowler said he had minor symptoms on March 16 — after playing golf the previous weekend — but didn’t think much of it because he didn’t have a fever.
On March 18, his symptoms worsened to a cold and the same day he got a call that he had been around someone who tested positive. Boselli consulted his doctor and got tested before the results concluded he had the virus two days later, ESPN reported.
Boselli said his condition significantly worsened over the next four days, while adding that he was 47-years-old and “completely healthy.”
“I thought I was getting better, then I woke up one day and I was going downhill fast,” Boselli said, according to Jaguars.com. “That’s when I was like, ‘Holy cow … this is real.’ When I went to the hospital, I thought I was going to get some fluids and some meds. They took an X-Ray and said, ‘You’re not leaving. You’re going to ICU.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ You realize that this stuff gets out of control pretty quick.”
He credits the medical staff at the hospital for helping to aid his recovery — while adding the experience taught him, “it’s time right now to listen to the healthcare professional and the experts, and what they’re telling us.”
“The thing is, it’s real,” Boselli added, according to the team website. “This is not a political debate. This isn’t if you’re on one side of the aisle or the other.”
As a healthy individual who has experienced many grueling NFL seasons, he said the virus “knocked me on my butt,”
while adding it gave him a perspective on what others more vulnerable to the virus could be dealing with.
“Also, think of other people,” he told Jaguars.com. “There are people who have underlying medical issues like asthma and diabetes and compromised immune systems. We have elderly people, obviously. I can’t imagine not being healthy and going through what I just went through.”