'Do your bit': AFL player's plea after heartbreaking virus news

A 50-50 split image shows a screenshot of Bachar Houli from his instagram video on the left, and a drive-though coronavirus test on the right.
Richmond's Bachar Houli has shared news that his mother is in the ICU after testing positive to the coronavirus, taking to Instagram to beg fans to follow guidelines and get tested themselves. Pictures: Instagram/bacharhouli14/Getty Images

Richmond Tigers defender Bachar Houli has revealed his mother is being treated in the intensive care unit after contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Houli took to Instagram on Monday afternoon to share the news in the hopes it would serve as a reminder for everyone, not just Melbourne residents subject to lockdown laws, that COVID-19 is serious and that rules have been enacted for a reason.

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The 211-game player made the plea a week after opting not to join his Richmond teammates on the AFL’s Gold Coast hub.

“I thought I’d share a very quick message and a reminder for myself and everyone out there and more specifically to the Muslim community out there,” Houli said on Instagram.

“I want to share a personal experience with the current situation that we’re all facing out with the COVID-19.

“My family has been affected by COVID-19. It’s been tough, it’s been a tough time. When you’re restricted and you’re isolated, it’s very touching.

“More specifically, my mother’s been affected a lot. She’s currently in ICU undergoing some heavy treatment.

“The team in the ICU is taking care of her. Her current state is a mixed one. God knows best her situation.

“What burns and what hurts truly is the fact that no one from her family members can go and visit her, which is very, very tough.

“Please put yourselves in this position.”

Bachar Houli, pictured here with his daughter before a Richmond game.
Bachar Houli opted not to join Richmond teammates in their quarantine hub because of his family's health. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Bachar Houli urges coronavirus caution

The Richmond premiership player was hopeful his message would serve as another reminded for people to follow social distancing rules and get themselves tested no matter how mild their symptoms.

Houli said he had been tested more than 30 times under the AFL’s rules, noting that the testing procedure now is far less invasive and uncomfortable compared to the early days of the pandemic.

“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me but rather think about in general and think about as it being you and part of your family.

Bachar Houli is pictured during a Richmond Tigers training session.
Bachar Houli opted not to join his teammates on the AFL's Gold Coast hub, and has since revealed his mother's battle with COVID-19. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

“Hopefully you can change your mindset about COVID-19. The reality is it is out there.

“Please I urge you for the sake of Allah go get tested. If you’re showing any form of symptoms, if you’re not showing any symptoms, please do your bit.

“I’ve been tested over 30 times being a current AFL player, and that’s the protocols. And we had to tick the box.

“It tickles a little bit, it doesn’t hurt. It’s a very, very quick procedure.”