Von Miller thought he had a cold when he started coughing last month.
The Denver Broncos linebacker kept coughing and his assistant suggested he get tested for the coronavirus. Miller tested positive, becoming perhaps the most recognizable athlete to publicly disclose he had COVID-19.
Miller, the Super Bowl 50 MVP, talked to Kent Babb of the Washington Post about his experience battling the viral disease. He is fine now, but there were some scary moments. And he wants everyone to know that the coronavirus is serious.
Von Miller was ‘honestly nervous’
Miller said he has asthma, and breathing difficulty was the hardest part of fighting the disease.
“Not being able to breathe,” Miller told Babb. “I got asthma, but it 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.”
Miller said he lost his sense of taste and smell, and lost his appetite, too.
“The first four, five days, I was honestly nervous,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t say that I thought I was going to die or anything like that, but it did cross my mind a little bit.”
Miller wants to spread awareness
Miiller said the “craziest part” is people he talks to around the league don’t think the coronavirus is real. He has to tell not only his fellow players but anyone he comes in contact with to take things like social distancing and wearing masks seriously.
Miller told Babb about going to Chipotle and seeing two people take off their masks before they even left the restaurant. They found themselves getting scolded by one of the NFL’s biggest stars.
“I was like, ‘Hey!’ They was all excited, but I was like: ‘I had the coronavirus; I saw y’all take your masks off early. Y’all should wear y’all masks all the way to the car,’ ” Miller told Babb. “Their smiles kind of changed.”
Miller wants to spread awareness. He also understands the challenges the NFL faces with coming back. He says when the NFL returns, everyone at team facilities has “to stay masked up.” He brought up an example of what happens if teammate Courtland Sutton has the disease and gets tackled, and the possibility of him passing along the disease to an opposing player. He spoke about limited crowds in the stadium.
He understands the situation.
“I want to make sure I can still deliver football to the fans, but I want to do it as safe as possible,” Miller said.
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