Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett wants everyone to know that COVID-19 is no joke. The 25-year-old sat down with USA Today Sports recently to talk about the dangerous effects the virus can have, even on extremely fit pro football players like himself.
“Personally, it whipped my ass,” Garrett said of his own battle with the virus. “It took me out.”
The Browns' star defender, who missed two NFL games last season due to COVID-19, said he had plenty of symptoms, including a headache and fatigue.
"I couldn’t smell, and what I could smell was like an iron, like a metallic sensation in my nose. It felt like it was burning. Like sometimes for 30 minutes, an hour. It made my head hurt. My eyes watered. Stuffy. Had phlegm. Felt weak.”
Myles Garrett dealt with ongoing issues from COVID-19
The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end revealed he struggled with the lasting effects of the disease when he returned to NFL action weeks later.
“I came back and I feel like I can go,” he recalled. “Then three plays in, I feel like I’m exhausted. My first game back, I’m using oxygen in the first quarter. You hear about some people who have no symptoms at all,” Garrett said. "It’s just strange how it affects each and every person.”
Garrett did not hesitate to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available to him. The 25-year-old is also urging others to get vaccinated at the earliest.
“I got it a couple of months ago,” Garrett said. “I don’t recommend doing nothing. Nothing is not the best option. You can still take precautions in staying away from people, wearing your mask, making sure you lower your risk of passing it on to someone else who doesn’t want to get the vaccine. Just be smart.”
“I would say go do it, get the vaccine, to decrease the risk of getting COVID or spreading it to someone who is going to have an adverse reaction like myself.
Garrett also revealed that both of his parents contracted the virus, while his great-grandmother passed away after a battle with COVID-19.
“My dad was real sick,” Garrett said. “I went to see him a couple of times. He was barely walking. He couldn’t breathe. He was coughing up. He was tired. When I saw him, I was in the driveway and he was sitting in a chair with my mother next to him. The closest I could get to him was about 10 feet away. He was just tired, sluggish, exhausted.”
The 2020 first-team All-Pro said his parents got the vaccine immediately, as have most of his close family members and friends.
“Everybody else I’ve talked to has gotten it,” Garrett said.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, around 92% of NFL players have been fully vaccinated or had at least one shot.