Emmanuel Sanders opens up on COVID experience: 'I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and I can't breathe'


The NFL hasn't been able to exactly steer clear of the coronavirus, as several teams have seen players, coaches or staff members fall ill and miss time as a result of the the unfortunate occurrence. Still, most cases have come and gone without too much drama surrounding them. Cam Newton apparently didn't have to battle with too many symptoms. Coaches like Anthony Lynn and Doug Pederson seemed to have avoided any major cases. In fact, the most prominent case in major sports that I can think of was that of not an NFL player, but of MLB star Freddie Freeman, who had a frightening experience.

However, a recent case in the NFL that came down on Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has proven to be a harrowing experience for the veteran. He opened up on what he's gone through to this point on the "17 Weeks" podcast.

"I never thought in a million years it'd come down to this, but we take it in strides and we're making the best of it," Sanders said.

Among his symptoms are high fevers that predominantly come on at night, a general "loopy" feeling, exhaustion and body aches.

"Every night I go to sleep, I'm like, 'Lord, please, just let me wake up in the morning feeling good,' " Sanders said. "I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and I can't breathe."

He says that watching and hearing some of the headlines surrounding COVID's severity and some of the worst cases have intensified his fears.

"In the back of your head — and you might think you're healthy — but in the back of your head you don't know it," Sanders said. "You don't know this virus, nobody knows anything about the virus, you don't know how your body is gonna react and you don't know at any moment, if sh-- would go south, right?

"So, it's scary, but at the same time I'm a god-fearing man. So I understand if God wants me to go out with COVID, then I'm gonna go out with COVID, but it's still in the back of my head."

Thankfully, he says that he feels good currently, though he's still dealing with some symptoms that he has had since the beginning, especially at night. The first symptoms he experienced were exhaustion and a lot of saliva in his mouth. Sanders showed up to practice earlier on the day that he eventually tested positive.

"...My wife, she told me the day before, she was like, 'I can't taste or smell anything,' " Sanders said. "So that kind of threw me off a little bit. So then the next day, I showed up to work and I'm running routes and I just don't feel good. So I ended up telling the trainers."

Sanders told the trainers about his wife's symptoms and they promptly took him to get tested. After a test at the facility and an additional test at another doctor, both results came back positive, much to Sanders' surprise.

"I just was like, what the hell?" Sanders said. "Truthfully, I don't really go anywhere. The only places I've been was to take my son to go train for basketball and for football, and so I don't know if that's the only place. I possibly could have contracted it unless, me and my wife, we went and had dinner one night as well."

Currently, Sanders and his wife, Gabriella, are quarantining together, while his kids and mother-in-law tested negative and flew back to the Sanders' other house in Denver. Though he was more scared for his wife than he was for himself, he says that Gabriella has stayed strong.

"She's handling it like a champ," Sanders said. "Welcome to 2020."

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