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Ex-NFL TE Mark Campbell on Coronavirus Hospitalization: 'It Kicked My Ass'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2020

New York Giants # 28 Gibril Wilson trying to tackle New Orleans Saints Tight end  # 80 Mark Campbell during the New Orleans Saints vs New York Giants game on December 24, 2006 at Giants Stadium final score Giants 7 Saints 30 (Photo by Tom Berg/NFLPhotoLibrary)
Tom Berg/Getty Images

Former NFL tight end Mark Campbell detailed his experience having COVID-19 in a lengthy interview with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (h/t USA Today). 

"I played 10 years in the NFL, pretty tough, was thinking basically I'm going to grind all this out," he said. "It [expletive] kicked my ass."

Campbell believes he caught the virus pumping gas following a family ski trip and went to a drive-through testing site when his temperature reached 102.6 degrees. He said the site resembled "a scene out of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" with so many police lights and people in protective gear, but he was told he didn't qualify for a test without underlying conditions.

He went home and self-isolated for 11 days until he struggled with his breathing.

"It wasn't wheezing," Campbell said. "It's like I could breathe, kind of in these short quick breaths, but I could never get satisfied with the oxygen. So I couldn't have these big, deep breaths. If I did that, I would start coughing and it would get worse. So I couldn't expand my lungs."

His wife Michell took him to the hospital, where he said he was upset and unsure if he would see her again as he was taken into the emergency room.

Campbell spent the next five days in the hospital and is now back home in self-quarantine again even though he has taken a turn for the better.

The tight end played four seasons at the University of Michigan and helped lead the Wolverines to a split national title in the 1997 campaign.

He then played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, registering 146 catches for 1,356 yards and 12 touchdowns in 111 games.

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