Jason Collins was one of the first people to contract COVID-19 in the United States — and he caught a pretty bad case of the deadly virus.
Luckily, the ex-NBA star, who played the 2012-13 season with the Boston Celtics, has recovered. But he said the two-and-a-half week period was “the sickest” he’s been in his life.
“It felt like I got punched by Mike Tyson. Like Mike Tyson in his prime, right in the heart,” Collins told the New York Daily News. “And all the feeling that was associated with that.”
Collins, considered the first openly gay athlete in the United States’ four major professional sports leagues, says it started with a headache, though it quickly subsided. In fact, his first symptoms appeared the same night the NBA indefinitely suspended the 2019-20 season, March 11.
Next was days of pain, which Collins compared to someone “sticking (me) with a needle real quick in my legs” before developing a fever on Day 7. But unlike some coronavirus patients, Collins didn’t have trouble breathing.
“It really affected heart more than my lungs,” Collins said. “I could always take a deep breath. The problem with me was the pressure in my chest. And the stuff it was doing to my heart just got really, really uncomfortable.”
In the end, however, Collins hopes his story “will be a story of hope for somebody else.”